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the  German   positions  and  trenches  from  thiepval  to  gombles. 


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HISTORY 


OF 


THE  WAR 


VOL.  IX. 


«ss5^5 


PRINTING    HOUSE    SQUARE. 


PRINTED  AND  PUBLISHED  BY  "THE  TIMES,' 
PRINTING  HOUSE  SQUARE,  LONDON. 


19 1 6. 


CONTENTS    OF    VOL.    IX. 


CHAPTER  CXXXVII. 

The  Russian  Offensive  of  1916  :   First  Phase         ...  ...  ...  ...  ...  1 

CHAPTER  CXXXVIII. 
The  Battle  of  Verdun  (III.)     ...  ...  ...  ...  ...         ...         ...         ...       41 

CHAPTER  CXXXIX. 
Austrian  Offensive  of  May,  1910,  in  the  Trentino  :    Italian  Politics  ...       81 

CHAPTER  CXL. 
The  Battle  of  Jutland  Bank  ...         ...         ...         ...         ...         ...         ...     121 

CHAPTER  CXLI. 
The  Western  Front  in  May  and  June,  1916  ...  ...  ...  ...  ...      161 

CHAPTER  CXLII. 
The  Work  of  the  Y.M.C.A 179 

CHAPTER  CXLIII. 

The  Russian  Offensive  of  1916:    Second  Phase     ...  ...  ...  ...  ...     201 

CHAPTER  CXLTV. 
The  Medical  Service  of  the  Royal  Saw    ...  ...  ...  ...  ...  ...     241 

CHAPTER  CXLV. 

The  Senussi  and  Western  Egypt       ...  ...  ...  ...  ...  ...  ...     281 

CHAPTER  CXI  AT. 

The  Intervention  of  Portugal  ...  ...  ...  ...  ...  ...  ...     321 

CHAPTER  CXLVII. 
Germany's  Second  Year  of  War         ...         ...         ...         ...         ...         ...  ...     361 

CHAPTER  CXLVIII. 
Operations  Xorth  of  the  Pripet  Marshes  :    Summer,  1916  ...  ...  ...     391 

CHAPTER  CXLIX. 
The  Intervention  of  Rumania  401 

CHAPTER  CL. 
The  Law  and  Enemy  Trading '     441 

CHAPTER  CLI. 
The  Battle  of  the  Somme  (I.)  ...  ...         ...  ...  ...  ...  ...         ...     477 


CHAPTER    CXXXVII. 


THE  RUSSIAN  OFFENSIVE  OF  191 6 

FIRST  PHASE. 


Results  of  the  Austro -German  Advance  in  1915 — The  Russian  "  Offensive  "  of  March, 
1916 — Russian  Objects  and  German  Exaggerations — Preparation  for  the  Great  Russian 
Offensive — Analysis  of  Positions  and  Strengths — The  Russian  Commanders  Described — 
The  Germans  and  Austrians — Austrian  Confidence — Luxury  in  the  Field — The  Strategic 
Problem — Russia  Strikes — Analysis  of  the  First  Three  Weeks — Austrian  Line  Broken — 
Fall  of  Lutsk — and  Dubno — Kaledin's  Success — The  East-Galician  Front — The  Bukovina 
— Fall  of  Czernovitz — Dramatic  Account  of  the  Evacuation — Conquest  of  the  Bukovina. 


THE  great  Austro -German  advance  of 
1915  had  stopped  without  having 
achieved  its  strategic  object.  It 
had  not  attained  the  line  on  which 
the  initiative  for  further  operations  would  have 
rested  exclusively  with  the  Central  Powers.* 
East  of  the  Niemen  and  the  Bug  the  Germanic 
armies  had  occupied  the  main  strategic  centre 
of  Vilna  and  the  important  railway  junctions 
of  Baranovitehe  and  Kovel  ;  in  the  south  they 
had  advanced  their  front  to  the  line  of  the  Ikva 
and  Strypa  ;  and  on  the  right  bank  of  the 
Dniester  they  had  advanced  almost  to  the  very 
frontier  of  Bessarabia.  Yet  our  Allies  had 
retained  in  the  north  the  line  of  the  Dvina 
with  Riga  and  Dvinsk,  the  railway  junctions 
of  Molodetchna  and  Minsk,  the  railway  across 
the  Pripet  Marshes,  the  strategic  centre  of 
Rovno — which  occupied  in  the  region  south 
of  the  Pripet  Marshes  a  position  analogous 
to  that  of  Vilna  in  the  northern  districts 
— and  a  considerable  tract  of  East  Galicia, 
which  in  view  of  its  highly  developed  net  of 
roads  and  railways  formed  a  useful  base  for 
future  Russian  operations.  Thus,  on  the  stra- 
tegic  line   separating   Inner   Russia   from   the 


*  For  a  detailed  analysis  of  that  line  cf.  Vol.  VII., 
Chapter  CX.,  especially  pp.  81-82. 
Vol.  IX.— Part  105. 


outlying  Lithuanian,  White  Russian  and  Polish 
provinces,  the  relative  position  of  the  opposing 
forces  with  regard  to  the  next  campaign 
remained  one  of  even  balance. 

It  was  now  the  main  task  of  the  Russian 
forces  to  preserve  intact  the  advantages  which 
that  line  offered  for  a  future  offensive,  whilst 
behind  the  front  new  armies  were  raised  and 
trained,  and  arrangements  were  made  for 
equipping  them  and  supplying  them  with 
plentiful  munitions.  To  have  gained  the 
necessary  respite  without  having  anywhere 
yielded  ground  to  an  enemy  who  had  already 
reached  the  full  development  of  his  forces  was, 
between  the  autumn  of  1915  and  the  first  days 
of  June,  1916,  the  achievement  of  the  armies 
defending  the  Russian  front. 

Numerous  local  encounters — the  usual  inci- 
dents of  stationary  trench  warfare — and  two 
series  of  bigger  operations  constitute  the  sum 
of  military  events  during  the  winter  and  spring 
of  1915-1916.  German  imagination  expanded 
the  operations  of  that  period  into  decisive 
offensives,  so  as  to  be  able  to  proclaim  their 
"  total  failure,"  to  speak  of  the  "  terrifying 
losses  of  the  enemy,"  and  to  repeat  once  more 
the  hackneyed  tale  of  the  "  unbreakable  " 
nature  of  the  German  front.     As  a  matter  of 


THE    TIMES    HISTORY    OF    THE    WAS. 


MEN    OF    RUSSIA'S    NEW    ARMY    ON    THE    MARCH. 


fact,  however,  both  the  Russian  attacks  in  the 
Bukovina — about  the  New  Year  of  1916 — and 
the  operations  which  our  Allies  undertook  in 
Lithuania  in  the  second  half  of  March  were 
merely  local  actions  very  much  restricted  in 
purpose  and  extent.  In  either  case  one  of 
the  chief  aims  of  the  Russians  was  to  forestall 
an  imminent  movement  of  the  enemy — and  in 
so  far  as  that  object  was  concerned  they  were 
fully  successful.  Throughout  the  period  inter- 
vening between  the  close  of  the  great  Germanic 
offensive  of  1915  and  the  commencement  of 
the  Allied  offensive  in  1916  the  Austro-German 
forces  proved  unable  to  resume  the  initiative 
on  the  Eastern  front. 

On  February  21  the  Germans  opened  their 
offensive  against  Verdun.  In  the  following 
weeks  elaborate  preparations  were  begun  by 
them  also  on  the  Dvina,  evidently  with  a  view 
to  similar  operations  against  some  sector  of 
the  Riga-Dvinsk  front.  Partly  in  order  to 
relieve  the  pressure  in  the  west,  and  partly  in 
order  to  forestall  the  offensive  which,  for  the 
coming  spring,  was  expected  on  their  own 
front,  our  Allies  opened  on  March  16  a  short 
counter-offensive  in  Lithuania.     The  time  and 


place  chosen  by  the  Russian  Command  by 
themselves  sufficiently  exj^lain  the  aim  and 
nature  of  these  operations.  The  blow  was 
delivered  in  the  district  which,  north  of  the 
Pripet  Marshes,  forms  the  most  vital  sector  of 
the  German  front.  Vilna  is  the  main  strategic 
centre  for  the  entire  region  between  the  Niemen, 
the  Dvina  and  the  Marshes  ;  its  safety  was  an 
essential  preliminary  condition  for  a  German 
offensive  anywhere  between  Dvinsk  and  Bara- 
novitche.  Between  Postavy  and  Smorgon  the 
battle-line  approached,  however,  within  from 
40  to  60  miles  of  Vilna.  Attacks  against  that 
sector  left  no  choice  to  the  enemy  ;  he  had  to 
counter  them  with  all  his  strength.  Still  it  is 
evident  that  our  Allies  could  not  have  expected 
to  carry  by  a  coup  de  main  a  sector  of  such 
enormous  strategic  importance.  The  strength 
of  the  German  fortifications  in  it  was  certain  to 
correspond  to  its  significance,  and  at  all  times 
it  was  held  by  a  concentration  of  forces  greater 
than  was  to  be  found  in  any  other  part  of  the 
line.  Moreover,  the  neighbourhood  of  Vilna 
and  the  comparatively  high  development  of 
railways  and  roads  in  that  region  furnished  the 
means  for  the  rapid  bringing  up  of  reinforce- 


THE    TIMES    HISTORY    OF    THE    WAR. 


ments.  In  view  of  the  lessons  taught  by  the 
fighting  round  Verdun,  which  had  been  pro- 
ceeding for  more  than  three  weeks  when  the 
Russian  operations  were  started,  a  strategic 
rupture  of  the  German  front  in  the  region  of 
Vilna  could  hardly  have  been  hoped  for  except 
as  the  result  of  long  and  steady  pounding  of 
their  lines.  Yet  the  Russian  "  offensive  "  was 
started  in  the  country  of  the  thousand  lakes, 
of  forest  and  marshy  valleys,  at  a  moment 
when  the  imminent  melting  of  the  snow  was 
certain  soon  to  render  the  entire  region  unfit 
for  any  serious  military  operations.  But  then 
the  Russians  did  not  mean  the  attacks  which 
they  delivered  in  Lithuania  in  March,  1916,  to 
be  the  beginning  of  a  big  offensive.  They 
aimed  at  immediate  results  ;  by  a  threat  which 
could  not  have  been  left  unheeded  they  meant 
to    disturb    German    calculations — and    it    is 


evident  that  they  succeeded  in  achieving  that 
aim.  The  time  for  decisive  action  against  the 
Central  Powers  had  not  yet  arrived — either 
in  the  east,  west  or  south. 

The  attacking  Russian  forces  operated  in  two 
groups.  South  of  the  Bereswetsh-Postavy- 
Svientsiany  railway-line  stood  a  group  of  three 
army  corps  and  one  cavalry  division  under 
General  Baluyeff  ;  the  isthmus  between  Lakes 
Narotch  and  Vishnieff  was  the  main  objective 
of  its  attacks.  A  similar  force  commanded  by 
General  Pleshkoff  operated  between  Postavy 
and  Lake  Drisviaty.  On  the  German  side  the 
front  between  Lake  Vishnieff  and  Lake  Dris- 
viaty was  held  by  the  Tenth  Army  under 
General  von  Eichhorn,  consisting  of  1 1  \  infantry 
and  two  cavalry  divisions  (besides  two  other 
cavalry  divisions  in  reserve),  and  supported  on 
the  left  wing  by  a  few  divisions  of  the  Eighth 


A    RUSSIAN    OFFICER    INTERROGATING    AUSTRIAN    PRISONERS. 


THE    TIMES    HISTORY    OF    THE    WAR. 


Army  under  General  von  Scholtz.  Thus,  in  so 
far  as  numbers  were  concerned,  the  opposing 
forces  were  fairly  evenly  matched. 

On  March  16  the  Russian  batteries  opened  a 
violent  bombardment  of  the  German  lines.  In 
the  hope  of  forestalling,  or  at  least  disturbing, 
the  coming  Russian  attacks,  the  Germans 
delivered  on  the  following  day  an  impetuous 
attack  against  the  Russian  positions  south  of 
Tverietch,  and  on  March  18  at  Miedziany. 
The  attacks  failed  completely  and  the  enemy 
had  to  retire  in  haste,  leaving  some  booty  in  the 
hands    of    the    Russians.     On    March    19    our 


GENERAL    KUROPATK1N, 
Commander  of  the  Northern  Armies. 

Allies  captured  the  village  of  Velikoie  Selo, 
north  of  Vileity.  On  the  same  day  marked 
progress  was  made  by  them  between  Lakes 
Narotch  and  Vishnieff.  After  a  severe  fight 
the  Russians  succeeded  in  carrying  the  village 
of  Zanaptche  and  in  occupying  part  of  the 
enemy  trenches  near  Ostrovliany  and  in  front 
of  Baltagouzy.  The  next  few  days  witnessed 
a  series  of  attacks  and  counter-attacks  on  the 
isthmus  between  the  lakes,  during  which  posi- 
tions were  frequently  changing  hands.  By 
March  23  our  Allies  had  advanced  their  lines 
still  farther  in  the  direction  of  Blizniki  and 
Mokrytsa.  In  this  region  between  Lakes  Vishnieff 
and  Narotch  the  troops  of  General  Baluyeff 
captured  during  the  four  days,  March  18  to  21, 


18  officers  and  1,255  men  and  one  5-in.  howitzer 
18  machine-guns,  26  field  mortars,  10  hand 
mortars  and  considerable  quantities  of  small 
arms  and  ammunition. 

Simultaneously  with  the  fighting  on  the 
isthmus  similar  encounters  were  proceeding  in 
three  other  sectors  of  the  Lithuanian  front  : 
between  the  Lake  Miadziol  and  Postavy,  near 
Tverietch,  and  north  of  Vidzy,  on  the  line  Lake 
Sekla-Mintsiouny.  Finally,  on  the  Dvina, 
half-way  between  Riga  and  Dvinsk,  in  front 
of  the  curve  which  the  river  forms  between 
Lievenhof  and  Friedrichstadt,  our  Allies  carried 
by  a  sudden  and  sharp  attack  a  series  of  German 
trenches  in  the  .region  of  Augustenhof  and 
Buschhof.  In  almost  every  part  of  the  line 
where  fighting  was  proceeding  the  Russians 
succeeded  in  improving  their  tactical  position. 
That  was  all  that  had  been  counted  upon. 
"  On  the  whole,  the  series  of  engagements 
latterly  reported  in  the  official  communiques,'" 
wrote  The  Times  correspondent  at  Petrograd, 
under  date  of  March  23,  "  bears  the  character 
of  an  encounter  battle" — and  warnings  were 
given  out  from  well-informed  quarters  at 
Petrograd  that  nothing  more  should  be  ex- 
pected at  that  season  of  the  year,  on  the  very 
threshold  of  spring.  And  indeed  in  the  last 
days  of  March  the  general  thaw  and  the  melting 
of  the  snow,  which  was  lying  on  the  ground 
several  feet  high,  put  an  end  to  the  fighting 
in  Lithuania.  It  was  once  more  resumed  in  the 
last  days  of  April.  By  a  considerable  military 
effort  the  Germans  recaptured  the  trenches 
which  the  Russians  had  taken  from  them  in  the 
i?thmus  between  Lakes  Narotch  and  Vishnieff, 
but  were  unable  to  advance  any  further. 

In  June,  when  the  great  Russian  offensive 
south  of  the  Marshes  was  breaking  up  the 
Austro -German  front  and  casting  a  shadow  far 
before  it  over  Central  Europe,  the  German 
Headquarters  felt  the  urgent  need  of  reassuring 
the  population  by  means  of  a  heroic  legend. 
A  graphic  description  had  to  be  given,  so 
crudely  coloured  as  to  impress  itself  even  on 
minds  beginning  to  yield  to  fear.  It  had  to 
be  demonstrated  that  every  Russian  offensive 
must  necessarily  break  down  and  end  in  disaster  ; 
it  had  to  be  shown  that  the  sacred  ground  of 
the  Fatherland  could  not  ever  again  be  in 
danger  of  contamination  by  a  hostile  foot.  On 
June  9 — the  date  is  significant — German  Head- 
quarters published  an  account  of  the  Russian 
"  offensive  "  of  March,  191G.  The  official  pen 
ran  riot  in  describing  an  encounter  of  Russians 


THE    TIMES    HISTORY    OF    THE    WAR. 


GENERAL 
Commander  of  the  Russian  Armies  in 

and  Germans  :  "  Indeed,  a  shattering  and  yet 
elevating  picture  !  Out  yonder,  masses  forging 
forward  through  deep  mud  and  swamps,  driven 
by  blows  of  the  knout  and  by  the  fire  of  their 
own  guns.  Here  the  iron  wall  of  the  Hinden- 
burgArmy.  Firm,  rigid  in  iron  and  steel.  Still 
firmer  in  the  will  of  every  single  man  :  to  hold 
out  even  against  overwhelming  odds.     Nobody 


BRUSILOFF, 
the  Great  Offensive  south  of  the  Prlpet, 

here  turns  back  with  anxious  glances,  nobody 
looks  back  at  the  police  behind  the  front. 
There  are  no  police.  All  eyes  are  bent  steadily 
to  the  front,  and  the  stones  of  the  wall  are  the 
soldier-hearts  of  the  defenders  " 

One  wonders  what  German  soldiers  must  have 
felt  when  reading  the  fustian  of  their  own 
Headquarters,  whether  rage  and  shame  did  not 

105—2 


THE    TIMES    HISTORY    OF    THE    WAR. 


make  their  blood  boil  when  thinking  of  the 
twaddler  who,  somewhere  safe  behind  the  front, 
was  writing  down  the  opponent  for  the  comfort 
of  nervons  people  at  home,  and  making  the 
fighters  of  his  own  army  ridiculous.  And  a 
month  later  these  very  scribes  were  complaining 
of  the  British  communiqves  being  "  written  in  a 
style  which  has  nothing  in  common  with  mili- 
tary brevity  and  simplicity  "  and  "  is  no  longer 
the  language  of  a  soldier  "  ! 

But  the  immediate  tactical  results  were  not 
the  only  aim  and  profit  of  the  military  opera- 
tions undertaken  by  the  Russians  in  the  autumn 
and  winter  of  1015-10.  They  had  also  their 
educational  value.  "  In  every  movement, 
great  or  small,  that  we  have  made  this  winter," 
said  General  Brusiloff  to  The  Times  correspon- 
dent, Mr.  Stanley  Washburn,  at  the  conclusion 
of  the  first  stage  of  the  offensive  in  June,  1010, 
"  we  have  been  studying  the  best  methods  of 
handling  the  new  problems  which  modern  war- 
fare presents.  At  the  beginning  of  the  war, 
and  especially  last  summer,  we  lacked  the  pre- 
parations which  the  Germans  have  been  making 
for  the  past  50  years.  Personally  I  was  not 
discouraged,  for  my  faith  in  Pvussian  troops  and 


Russian  character  is  an  enduring  one.  I  was 
convinced  that,  given  the  munitions,  we  should 
do  exactly  as  we  have  done  in  the  past  two 
weeks." 

The  task  of  Russu'  was  in  a  way  similar  to 
that  of  Great  Britain.  In  the  middle  of  the 
war  she  had  to  build  up  new  armies  and  devise 
the  means  for  supplying  them  with  the  necessary 
war  material.  As  against  England,  indeed, 
Russia  was  favoured  in  having  vast  cadres  of 
highly  trained  officers  and  in  possessing,  in  the 
widest  sense  of  the  word,  the  tradition  of  a 
great  national  army.  But  she  was  handicapped 
in  matters  of  industrial  development  and  of 
communications  both  within  her  own  empire 
and  with  the  outer  world.  In  spite  of  this, 
however,  Russia,  during  the  period  of  suspense 
in  the  fighting,  accomplished  results  which  had 
never  entered  the  calculations  of  the  enemy  and 
surpassed  even  the  hopes  of  her  Allies.  In 
fact,  they  could  never  have  been  achieved  had 
it  not  been  for  the  unanimous,  enthusiastic 
support  which  the  entire  Russian  nation  gave 
to  every  enterprise  connected  with  the  war. 
That  is  true  of  individuals  as  well  as  of  organiza- 
tions. Among  the  latter  it  was  especially  the 
Unions  of  Zemstvos  and  Towns  which  did  the 


A    CAPTURED    AUSTRIAN    TRENCH. 
On  the  right  is  Captain  Baranoff,  chief  of  General  Brusiloff's  escort. 


THE    TIMES    HISTORY    OF    THE    WAR. 


:,it£& 


RUSSIAN    DUG-OUTS. 
Near  the  fighting-line. 

most  important  work.  "  The  desire  to  work 
on  the  part  of  the  Unions  was  so  great," 
said  General  Alexeieff,  Chief  of  the  General 
Staff,  "  that  they  willingly  undertook  anything, 
great  or  small,  provided  it  was  of  use  to  the 
army." 

Whilst  the  direction  of  the  armies  in  the  field 
rested  with  General  Alexeieff,  dependent  im- 
mediately on  the  Tsar  himself,  up  to  the  end  of 
March  General  Polivanoff  presided  over  the 
work  of  the  War  Office.  On  March  29  General 
Polivanoff  was  relieved  of  his  office,  and  was 
succeeded  by  General  Shuvaieff .  * 

The  summer  of  1916  found  the  Russian 
armies  between  the  Baltic  Sea  and  the  Ru- 
manian frontier  grouped  in  three  main  divisions. 
General  Kuropatkin,  who  by  an  Imperial 
Ukase  dated  February  19  had  been  appointed 
Commander-in-Chief  of  the  Northern  Armies 
in  place  of  General  Plehve,  was  in  charge  of 
the  Riga-Dvinsk  line.  He  had  three  armies 
under  his  command — the  Twelfth  Army  of 
General  Gorbatowski  with  headquarters  at 
Venden,  the  Fifth  Army  based  on  Rzezytsa, 
and  the  First  Army  of  General  Litvinoff  in  the 


*  See  Vol.  VIII..  p.  204. 


district  of  Disna.  German  writers  put  their 
aggregate  strength  at  35  to  41  divisions  of 
infantry,  and  13 J  divisions  of  cavalry. 

The  centre  facing  Vilna  remained  under  the 
command  of  General  Evert,  who  by  the  mag- 
nificent skill  displayed  in  the  retreat  from  the 
Niemen  and  Vilia,  had  enhanced  the  high 
reputation  which  he  had  earned  in  the  Russo- 
Japanese  War.  His  group  included  the  Second 
Army  under  General  Smirnoff  round  Dokshitse, 
the  Tenth  Army  of  General  Radkievitch  with 
headquarters  at  Minsk,  the  Fourth  Army  of 
General  Rogoza  on  the  Upper  Niemen,  and  the 
Third  Army  of  General  Lesh  on  the  northern 
outskirts  of  the  Pripet  Marshes.  German 
estimates  of  the  strength  of  the  Russian  centre 


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THE    TIMES    HISTORY    OF    THE    WAR. 


varied  from  42A  to  50|  infantry  and  8i  cavalry 
divisions. 

One  may  safely  assume  that  these  figures  were 
more  or  less  exaggerated.  It  was  the  regular 
policy  of  German  writers  to  enhance  the  figures 
of  the  forces  opposed  to  them  (not  of  those 
opposed  to  the  Austrians  !)  and  to  discount  the 
strength  of  enemy  reserves,  so  as  to  magnify 
the  greatness  of  their  own  "  achievements " 
and  to  prove  the  hopelessness  of  the  enemy's 
cause. 

Ever  since  the  distinction  between  northern 
and  southern  theatres  of  war  had  arisen  on  the 
Russian  front,  the  armies  south  of  the  Pripet 
Marshes  had  remained  under  the  command  of 
General  Ivanoff.  In  the  first  days  of  April, 
that  fine  old  soldier  having  been  called  to 
Imperial  Headquarters  to  act  as  military 
adviser  to  the  Tsar,  his  place  at  the  front  was 
taken  by  General  Brusiloff,  who  had  hitherto 
led  the  Eighth  Army.  At  the  beginning  of  the 
summer  offensive  his  command  included  four 
armies  (towards  the  end  of  June,  when  Volhynia 
had  become  the  main  battle-ground  of  Europe, 
the  army  of  General  Lesh  also  was  transferred 
to  this  theatre  of  war).  The  four  original 
armies  of  General  Brusiloff  were — his  own  old 
army  with  headquarters  at  Rovno,  now  under 
the  oommand  of  General  Kaledin  ;  the  Eleventh 
Army  under  General  Sakharoff  on  the  borders 
of  Volhynia  and  Podolia  ;  the  Seventh  Army 
under  General  Shcherbatieff  in  Eastern  Galicia  ; 
and  lastly,  the  Ninth  Army  of  General  Lechit- 
sky  on  the  Dniester  and  the  frontier  between 
the  Bukovina  and  Bessarabia.  German  esti- 
mates put  the  strength  of  the  Southern  Armies 
in  May,  1916,  at  41  divisions  of  infantry  and 
14  divisions  of  cavalry — which  is  much  nearer 
the  mark  than  the  estimate  of  the  northern 
groups. 

It  was  in  the  southern  area,  and  especially 
in  the  spheres  of  operation  of  the  Eighth  and 
Ninth  Russian  Armies,  that  the  decisive  battles 
were  to  be  fought  during  the  opening  stages  of 
the  new  Russian  offensive.  The  victories  of 
June,  1916,  added  new  lustre  to  the  reputation 
of  General  Brusiloff,  and  made  known  through- 
out the  world  the  hitherto  unfamiliar  names  of 
Generals  Kaledin  and  Lechitsky. 

4Jexey  Alexeyevitch  Brusiloff  belonged  to 
an  old  Russian  noble  family.  Of  medium 
height  and  spare  build,  with  finely  moulded 
features,  steady,  sharp  grey  eyes,  and  elegant 
easy  movement,  General  Brusiloff  had  pre- 
served to  the  full  his  bodily  vigour.     A  famous 


GENERAL    EVERT, 
Commanded  the   Russian   Armies  in  the  centre. 

horseman — a  distinction  which  it  is  by  no 
means  easy  to  earn  in  Russia — he  had  all 
through  life  kept  in  training.  Although  the 
requirements  of  his  professional  work,  as  its 
sphere  was  widening,  led  him  away  from 
the  interests  of  his  younger  years,  be  pre- 
served the  appearance  of  the  typical  cavalry 
officer.  It  was  in  the  cavalry  that  he  started 
his  career.  His  work  for  the  development  and 
training  of  that  arm,  which  had  always  taken 
a  prominent  part  in  the  Russian  forces,  left 
a  permanent  mark  on  its  organization.  In 
1906,  at  the  age  of  53,  Brusiloff  was  appointed 
to  the  command  of  the  Second  Cavalry  Division 
of  the  Guard.  Being  known  as  an  able  adminis- 
trator, he  was  subsequently  attached  for  some, 
tune  as  military  assistant  to  the  Governor- 
General  of  Warsaw,  General  Skalon.  In  1911 
General  Brusiloff  was  entrusted  with  the 
command  of  the  army  corps  stationed  at 
Vinnitsa  (Russian  Podolia)  and  of  its  military 
district,  which,  bordering  on  East  Galicia,  was 
the  most  important  military  area  within  the 
Kieff  command. 

Thus  General  Brusiloff  had  spent  the  years 
following  on  the  Japanese  War,  during  which 
the  Russian  Army  was  reorganized,  in  the 
frontier-districts    to    the    north    and    east    of 


10 


THE    TIMES    HISTORY    OF    THE    WAR. 


Galicia.  The  outbreak  of  the  war  found  him 
in  command  of  the  forces  concentrated  in 
Russian  Podolia.  It  was  then  but  natural  that 
he  should  be  chosen  to  lead  the  army  which 
invaded  Galicia  from  the  east.  Previous 
chapters  of  this  history  have  told  the  story  of 
his  rapid  advance  on  Nizhnioff  and  Halitch, 
of  the  grand  battles  which  the  Eighth  Army 
fought  under  Iris  leadership  in  the  Carpathian 
Mountains,  of  its  raids  into  Hungary,  and  finally 
of  the  retirement  which  followed  on  the  catas- 
trophe of  the  adjoining  Third  Army  on  the 
Dunayets.  Even  in  the  course  of  that  retire- 
ment Brusiloff's  army  still  managed  to  capture 
vast  numbers  of  prisoners,  and  it  concluded  its 
retreat  in  the  first  days  of  September,  1915,  by 
a  brilliant  counter-offensive  in  Yolhynia,  which 
gave  it  for  a  time  command  of  Lutsk,  and  per- 
manently secured  Rovno.  It  therefore  sur- 
prised no  one  when  General  Brusiloft'  was  chosen 
successor  to  General  Ivanoff. 

In  the  command  of  his  own  army  he  was 
succeeded  by  General  Kaledin.  Before  the 
opening  of  the  great  Russian  offensive  Kaledin's 
name  was  little  known,  even  in  Russia,  except 
in  military  circles.  At  the  beginning  of  the 
war  he  led  a  cavalry  division  in  General 
Brusiloff's  army.  He  distinguished  himself  in 
every  one  of  the  many  actions  in  which  he  was 


engaged,  and  was  soon  entrusted  with  the 
command  of  an  army  corps,  and  finally  was 
picked  out  by  General  Brusiloff  to  succeed  him 
at  the  head  of  the  entire  Eighth  Russian  Army. 
He  was  a  short,  thick-set  man.  His  quiet, 
sober  eyes  inspired  confidence  in  anyone  who 
had  dealings  with  him.  The  conduct  of  the 
Volhynian  battle  in  June,  1916,  proved  that 
at  any  rate  in  the  military  art  he  was  a  past 
master — a  fact  which  not  even  enemy  writers 
dared  to  question. 

One  other  of  General  Brusiloff's  army-com- 
manders rivalled  in  June,  1916,  the  fame  of 
(ieneral  Kaledin.  It  was  General  Lechitsky, 
the  leader  of  the  Russian  offensive  against  the 
Bukovina.  His  career  reads  like  a  romance. 
He  was  born  in  1856,  the  son  of  a  Greek- 
Orthodox  priest  in  a  small  provincial  town.  He 
himself  was  intended  by  his  parents  for  the 
Church  and  consequently  attended  the  theo- 
logical school  at  Vilna.  He  felt,  however,  that 
his  real  vocation  was  that  of  a  soldier.  Too 
poor  to  enter  a  military  school,  he  joined  the 
army  as  a  volunteer  in  a  reserve  battalion,  and 
by  this  roundabout  way  reached  the  cadets' 
corps.  He  then  spent  some  16  years  as  a 
company  officer  in  Siberia.  For  many  years  he 
struggled  in  obscurity  with  hardly  a  chance  of 
ever  rising  above  the  level  of  so  many  patient, 


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RUSSIAN    INFANTRY    ON    THEIR    WAY    TO    THE    TRENCHES. 


THE    TIMES    HISTORY    OF    THE    WAR. 


11 


GENERAL    LECHITSKY. 

The    leader    of    the  Russian    offensive    against    the 
Bukovina. 

quiet  regimental  officers  whose  work  makes  the 
life  of  the  Russian  Army  and  whose  names  pass 
into  the  oblivion  of  the  crowd.  The  Boxer 
Revolt  in  China  gave  him  his  first  chance  of 
showing  his  true  mettle  ;  he  was  soon  promoted 
to  the  rank  of  a  colonel.  He  subsequently  did 
excellent  work  in  the  Russo-Japanese  War,  and 
was  a  short  time  afterwards  made  a  general. 
In  1906  he  was  entrusted  with  the  command 
of  the  First  Division  of  the  Guard,  and  in  1911 
he  was  put  at  the  head  of  the  army  district  of 
Chabarovsk  in  Eastern  Siberia.  During  the 
Great  War  it  was  not  until  June,  1916,  that  he 
appeared  in  a  big  offensive  action  as  com- 
mander of  an  Army — with  the  result  that  in  the 
south,  between  the  Dniester  and  Pruth,  the 
Russians  advanced  within  a  month  about  50 
miles,  and  that  the  name  of  General  Lechitsky 
became  one  of  the  best  known  in  Europe. 

On  the  side  of  the  enemy  the  Pripet  Marshes 
marked  approximately  the  division  between 
the  spheres  of  the  two  Germanic  Allies.  Al- 
though one  Austro-Hungarian  -army  :Corps 
remained  in  the  northern  region,  and  a  few 
German  divisions  and  two  German  commanders 
operated  in  the  southern  district,  it  is  still  cor- 
rect for  the  period  of  relative  suspense  (Sep- 
tember, 1915--June,  1916)  to  call  the  line 
between  the  Pripet  Marshes  and  the  Rumanian 
border  the  Austro-Hungarian  front.  Having 
done  most  of  the  work  in  1915,  the  Austrians 
wished  to  be  able  to  call  some  quarter  their 
own  ;  soon  after  the  fall  of  Brest-Litovsk  a 
segregation    of    troops    was    carried    out,    and 


Field-Marshal  Archduke  Frederick  (and  also 
General  Conrad  von  Hotzendorf,  the  Chief  of 
the  Austrian  General  Staff)  came  again  to  their 
oven.  The  Archduke  now  conunanded  the 
armies  south  of  the  Marshes,  whilst  Field- 
Marshal  von  Hindenburg  and  the  shadowy 
Prince  Leopold  of  Bavaria  directed  the  forces 
between  the  Baltic  Sea  and  the  Pripet. 

Hindenburg's  command  embraced  four  armies 
whilst  one  army  and  an  army  detachment  looked 
for  guidance  to  the  military  genius  from  the 
House  of  Wittelsbach.  A  group  consisting  of 
7 1  infantry  divisions  and  one  cavalry  division 
held  the  line  from  the  Baltic  Sea  till  about 
Friedrichstadt.  Xext  to  it  stood  the  Eighth 
German  Army  under  General  von  Scholtz  ; 
it  consisted  of  nine  infantry  and  three  cavalry 
divisions,  and  its  sphere  of  operation  extended 
till  about  Vidzy.  The  adjoining  Tenth  Army 
under  General  von  Eichhorn  had  the  biggest 
effectives  at  its  disposal,  but  had  the  shortest 
front  to  defend.  It  included  11£  infantry 
and  two  cavalry  divisions  (besides  another  two 
cavalry  divisions  in  reserve),  and  occupied  the 
district  between  Vidzy  and  the  Upper  Vilia  ;  it 
was  thus  primarily  upon  this  Army  that  de- 
volved the  task  of  protecting  Vilna,  its  head- 
quarters.    From  north  of  Smorgon  down  to  the 


GENERAL    KALEDIN, 

Commanded  the  Russian  Army  at  Rovno. 


12 


THE    TIMES    HISTORY    OF    THE    W.W. 


Xiemen  extended  the  positions  of  the  Twelfth 
Army  under  General  von  Fabeck  (eight  divisions 
v  ith  one  brigade  in  reserve). 

South  of  the  Xiemen  extended  the  realm  of 
I'rince  Leopold  of  Bavaria,  monarch  of  one  of 
the  manj'  kingdoms  of  Poland  which  were 
vainly  planned  during  the  war,  and  chief  of 
a  group  of  armies  which  never  existed.*  The 
line  between  the  Xiemen  and  the  Oginski  Canal 
was  held  by  his  one  and  only  companion. 
General  von  Woyrseh,  commanding  the  Ninth 
German  Army  (in  a  "  birthday  article  "  which 
the  Vienna  Neue  Freie  Presse  devoted  to 
Prince  Leopold  in  November,  1915,  he  himself 
had  been  described  as  its  commander).  The 
Ninth  Army  included  eight  German  infantry 
divisions  and  the  12th  Austro-Hungarian  army 
corps.  This  detachment,  consisting  mainly  of 
Transylvanian  troops,  was  the  remainder  of 
the  Kovess  Group,  which  had  become  engulfed 
in  Woyrsch's  Army  in  July,  1915,  when 
General  Dankl,  with  part  of  the,  in  any  case, 
slender  First  Austro-Hungarian  Army,  had 
been  transferred  to  the  Italian  front.  Subse- 
quently, on  the  commencement  of  the  new 
campaign  against  Serbia,  in  the  autumn  of  1915, 
the  leader  of  the  remainder  of  the  First  Austro- 
Hungarian  Army  in  the  north,  General  Kovess 
von  Kovesshaza,  was  removed  with  part  of  his 
troops  to  Serbia,  whilst  the  12th  army  corps 
was  left  in  the  midst  of  its  German  comrades. 
However  well  the  Germans  conducted  publicity 
campaigns  for  themselves  and  for  any  German 
commander  or  division  which  might  happen  to 
find  itself  within  the  Austrian  lines,  the  pre- 
sence of  their  "  weaker  brethren  "  within  their 
own  half  of  the  line  was  regularly  passed  over 
in  silence  until  it  came  to  bear  the  brunt  of  a 
Russian  attack.  Then,  on  June  16,  1916,  the 
Yi?nna  Neue  Freie  Presse  devoted  a  whole 
article  to  that  newly  discovered  Austrian 
detachment,  stating  that  "  the  news  of  their 
presence  in  Lithuania "  may  surprise  its 
readers,  "as  it  was  not  hitherto  generally 
known  that  a  detachment  of  Imperial  and 
Royal  troops  stood  so  far  north  in  the  midst  of 
German  armies."  In  fact,  the  only  writer  who 
had  previously  mentioned  it  was  the  Military 
Correspondent  of  The  Times  in  his  remarkable 
article  on  the  German  Armies  in  Russia,  pub- 
lished on  April  23,  1916. 

*  Attention  has  been  previously  called  to  the  peculiar 
military  career  of  Prince  Leopold,  who  had  risen  to  the 
rank  of  commander  of  a  group  of  armies  for  the  occasion 
of  his  entry  into  Warsaw  ;  cj.  Chapter  XCI.,  pp.  328 
and  358,  and  Chapter  CX-,  p.   114. 


Besides  the  Ninth  Army  there  was  only  a 
small  detachment  in  the  thick  of  the  Pripet 
swamps  (made  separate  probably  in  order  to 
mark  the  difference  of  standing  between  mere 
army  commanders  and  the  Royal  Prince  of 
Bavaria).  That  detachment  consisted  of  three 
infantry  and  two  cavalry  divisions. 

Thus  the  German  forces  north  of  the  Pripet 
Marshes  seem  to  have  included  48  divisions  of 
infantry  and  10  divisions  of  cavalry,  repre- 
senting an  aggregate  strength  of  probably 
1 ,200,000  men.  The  most  striking  feature  was  the 
almost  complete  absence  of  strategic  reserves  ; 
these  had  been  drained  for  the  Verdun  front. 

It  was  the  kindly,  grandfatherly  spirit  of 
Archduke  Frederick  which  presided  over  the 
fates  of  Miitel-Europa  in  the  country  south  of 
the  Marshes  during  the  spring  of  ]  9 1 6.  The 
days  of  the  grim  Mackensen  had  gone,  and  the 
Prussian  Von  Linsingen  and  the  Bavarian 
Count  Bothmer  were  as  yet  merely  subordi- 
nates of  the  old  gentleman  whom  fate  and  the 
Habsburg  family  had  chosen  for  a  general. 
Born  in  1856,  he  celebrated  his  60th  birthday 
on  June  4 — indeed  a  day  which  history  will 
remember,  though  for  reasons  very  different 
from  those  on  which  the  courtiers  of  Vienna 
expatiated. 

It  is  a  family  tradition  of  the  Habsburgs  to 
produce  military  geniuses.  Archduke  Frede- 
rick, a  grandson  of  Archduke  Charles,  the  hero 
of  Aspern,  and  a  nephew  of  Archduke  Albrecht 
of  Custozza  fame,  was  chosen  to  be  a  real 
soldier.  He  entered  the  army  at  the  age  of  15. 
At  the  age  of  24  he  was  already  a  colonel,  two 
years  later  a  general.  As  a  man  of  30  he  was 
put  in  command  of  a  division,  and  three  years 
later  of  a  whole  army-corps.  Having  shown 
such  extraordinary  abilities  in  his  youth,  he 
became  in  1906  Commander-in-Chief  of  the 
Austrian  Landwehr,  and  on  July  12,  1914,  the 
Emperor  Francis  Joseph  appointed  him  to  the 
highest  command  of  the  common  Austro- 
Hungarian  Army.  At  the  time  that  the 
Germans  thought  Russia  to  have  been  "  finished 
off  for  good  "  they  handed  over  to  him  the 
southern  portion  of  the  Eastern  front. 

Two  separate  regions  may  be  distinguished 
within  that  area :  the  Russian  district  of 
Volhynia  and  the  Austrian  territories  in  East 
Galicia  and  the  Bukovina.  The  differences  in 
the  development  of  means  of  communication 
and  in  their  directions  preserve  the  importance 
of  this  frontier  line,  which  otherwise  (accord- 
ing to  the  principles  of  the   text-books)  should 


THE    TIMES    HISTORY    OF    THE    WAR. 


13 


A    SACRED    SYMBOL    OF    THE    RUSSIAN    ARMY. 
A  portrait  of  Nicholas  II.  under  guard  during  an  advance. 


have  ceased    to    exist    with    the    outbreak    of 
war. 

The  Volhynian  district  was  held  by  two 
Austrian  armies  :  the  Third  Austro-Hungarian 
Army  under  Genera]  Puhallo  von  Brlog, 
between  the  Marshes  and  Tchartoryi.sk,  and 
the  Fourth  Army  under  Archduke  Joseph 
Ferdinand  within  the  Volhynian  Triangle  of 
Fortresses  (the  Austrians  held  Lutsk  and 
Dubno,  and  were  facing  Rovno).  Into  these 
two  armies  seems  to  have  been  merged,  at  a 
date  which  was  never  announced,  and  in  a 
way  which  was  never  described,  the  army  of 
General    von    Linsingen— and    he    himself    re- 


mained in  Volhynia  in  a  character  which  was 
never  denned  until  the  middle  of  June,  1916. 
Then,  after  the  first  Austrian  defeats,  the 
German  official  cotnmuniques  (not  those  of 
Vienna  !)  suddenly  began  to  speak  of  a  new 
"  group  of  armies  "  under  Von  Linsingen.  The 
Prussian  had  now  openly  taken  out  of  the  weak 
Habsburg  hands  the  command  in  the  Volhy- 
nian battle  area. 

It  will  be  remembered  that  in  the  winter  of 
1914-15,  when  the  battles  were  raging  in  th<j 
Carpathians,  a  German  "  Army  of  the  South  " 
was  holding  the  mountain-chain  from  the  Uzsok 
Pass  to  the  upper   courses  of  the  Bystrzytsas. 

105-  3 


II 


THE    TIMES    HISTORY    OF    THE    WAR. 


ARCHDUKE     FREDERICK. 

The  Commander-in-Chief  of  the  Austro-Hungarian 

Army,    with    his    grandchildren  —  the    children    of 

Princess  Hohenlohe. 

TL.S  chief  commander  was  Von  Linsingen,  and 
its  elite,  the  Prussian  army  corps  containing 
the  Third  Division  of  the  Guard,  was  led  by 
Count  Bothmer.  Even  then  more  than  half 
of  the  effectives  of  the  "  German  Army  of  the 
South  "  consisted  of  Austro -Hungarian  troops. 
During  the  advance  in  the  summer  of  1915  it 
was  split  up,  Linsingen  proceeding  to  Volhynia, 
whilst  Botlimer  advanced  against  the  Tarnopol- 
Trembovla  front.  Each  of  these  halves  served 
as  framework  for  a  new  army  filled  out  with 
fresh  Austrian  troops.  Meantime  no  increase 
was  made  in  their  German  leaven — on  the 
contrary,  much  of  it  was  removed.  The  last 
withdrawal  was  the  Prussian  Guard  of  Both- 
mer's  Army,  which  had  to  go  to  replenish  the 
German  effectives  before  Verdun.  Towards  the 
end  of  May,  1916,  there  were  left  hardly  more 
than  three  German  divisions  in  the  midst  of  the 
Austrian  forces.  Two  of  these  stood  in  Vol- 
hynia, whilst  the  48th  German  Reserve  Di- 
vision was  the  only  one  remaining  with  the 
army  of  General  Count  Bothmer. 

Of  Austro-Hungarian  troops  the  two  Volhy- 
nian armies  included  12J  infantry  and  seven 
cavalry    divisions,   besides   the   Polish    legions 


composed  of  all  arms  and  amounting  to  some- 
thing more  than  a  division. 

The  front  of  the  adjoining  Second  Austro- 
Hungarian  Army  under  General  von  Boehm- 
Ermolli  also  extended  mainly  over  Russian  soil. 
Its  line  stretched  front  south  of  Dqbno  to  a 
point  north  of  the  Tarnopol-Krasne-Lvoff 
railway-line.  Still,  up  to  the  time  when  it  was 
dragged  into  the  maelstrom  of  the  Volhynian 
battle,  this  army,  with  its  headquarters  and 
bases  on  Austrian  soil,  belonged  to  the  Galician 
rather  than  to  the  Volhynian  group.  It 
included  about  eight  infantry  divisions — all  of 
them  Austrian  or  Hungarian.  The  rest  of  the 
Austrian  front  was  held  by  the  two  Armies  of 
Count  Bothmer  and  General  von  Pflanzer- 
Baltin,  the  point  of  junction  between  them 
lying  in  the  district  of  Butchatch.  In  March, 
1916,  their  aggregate  strength  amounted  to 
about  20  Austro-Hungarian  and  two  German 
infantry  divisions  and  four  divisions  of  Austro- 
Hungarian  cavalry.  It  was  especially  within 
that  sector  that  changes  were  effected  in  the 
course  of  the  spring.  Besides  the  Third 
Division  of  the  Prussian  Guard,  whose  with- 
drawal to  Verdun  was  mentioned  above, 
these  armies  lost  a  few  infantry  divisions  to 
the  ItaUan  front.  Yet  the  largest  withdrawals 
for  the  Trentino  offensive  did  not  come  from 
the  armies  at  the  front,  but  from  the  bases  in 
the  rear.  The  Italian  campaign  had  an  effect 
on  the  position  of  the  Austro-Hungarian  armies 
in  the  east  analogous  to  that  which  the  Verdun 
offensive  exercised  on  Hindenburg's  line.  It 
left  them  bare  of  strategic  reserves. 

The  best  authorities  estimated  the  strength 
of  the  enemy's  infantry  in  the  south  at  the  time 
when  our  Allies  opened  their  great  offensive  at 
about  38  Austro-Hungarian  and  three  German 
infantry  divisions.  Their  strength  in  infantry 
seems,  therefore,  to  have  been  about  equal  to 
that  of  General  Brusiloff's  armies,  though  the 
Russians  undoubtedly  possessed  a  marked 
superiority  in  cavalry. 

The  fact  haw  been  frequently  commented  upon 
that  at  the  time  wrhen  the  Russians  opened  their 
offensive  of  1916  the  Austro-Hungarian  armies 
at  the  eastern  front  included  hardly  any 
Czech,  Yugo-Slav  or  Pvuthenian  regiments — 
i.e.,  few  elements  friendly  at  heart  to  the  Slav 
cause.  Those  troops  had  been  sent  mainly  to 
the  Italian  front,  whilst  Germans,  Magyars, 
Italians  and  Poles  were  sent  to  Russia  and 
Galicia.  Indeed,  all  along  the  line  could  be 
found  Magyar  regiments  or  whole  army  corps, 


THE     TIMES    HISTORY    OF    THE    WAR. 


15 


as,  e.g..  the  group  of  General  von  Szurmay  in 
the  north,  the  detachment  of  General  von 
Goglia  near  Podkamien  (south  of  Brody),  and 
very  considerable  numbers  of  Hungarian 
regiments  within  Pflauzer-Baltin's  army.  Simi- 
larly, German-Austrians — Viennese  regiments, 
Alpine  divisions,  Germans  from  Bohemia  and 
Moravia — were  posted  along  the  entire  front. 
Still,  Czech  and  Yugo-Slav  soldiers  were  by 
no  means  absent.  They  were  scattered  in 
groups  among  the  troops  whose  loyalty  could 
be  relied  upon  by  the  Austro-Hungarian  Army 
Command  ;  these  had  to  keep  watch  over  them, 
send  them  everywhere  into  the  most  exposed 
positions,  and  where  any  suspicion  of  "  treason  " 
arose,  fire  at  them  from  behind.  Yet  even 
so,  it  remains  to  be  known  whether  these 
bodies  of  men,  devoted  to  the  cause  of  Slav 
freedom  and  hating  the  German-Magyar  rule, 
did  not  contribute  in  some  measure  to  the 
victories  of  our  Russian  Allies.  Anyhow,  the 
Russians  soon  became  aware  of  their  presence, 
and  whilst  the  true  enemies  among  the  prisoners 
were  started  off  on  their  weary  journey  to 
Siberia  or  Turkestan,  the  Slavs  were  placed 
at  once  on  farms  behind  the  Russian  front, 
where  labour  was  needed  for  the  approaching 
harvest.  They  were  a  real  godsend  to  the 
farmers,  as  was  shown  by  numerous  notices 
on  the  subject  which  appeared  in  the  Press  of 
Southern  Russia. 


Of  all  the  handicaps  under  which  the  Austro- 
Hungarian  Army  Command  was  suffering 
the  most  dangerous  was  perhaps  its  almost 
pathetic  conceit.  It  was  not  merely  the  daily 
twaddle  of  the  Neue  Freie  Presse  and  inspired 
statements  for  the  consumption  of  neutrals 
which  proclaimed  the  impregnability  of  the 
Austrian  positions  and  the  invincibility  of 
Austrian  troops.  Prominent  army  comman- 
ders made  statements  to  that  effect  even  in 
private,  intimate  conversations.  Of  their  pub- 
lic declarations  it  will  suffice  to  quote  a  single 
one.  On  the  very  eve  of  the  new  Russian 
offensive  Baron  Conrad  von  Hotzendorf,  Chief 
of  the  Austro-Hungarian  General  Staff,  was 
reported  as  saying  to  the  Swedish  journalist, 
Herr  Nils  Lago  Linquist :  "  We  have  held  out 
for  two  years,  and  those  two  years  were  the 
worst.  Now  we  can  hold  out  in  a  cheerful  and 
confident  frame  of  mind  as  long  as  it  pleases 
our  enemies.  To  hold  out,  of  that  we  are 
certainly  capable.  We  are  not  to  be  conquered 
again."*  The  Pester  Lloyd  had  the  doubtful 
taste  to  reprint  that  conversation  in  its  issue 
of  June  8. 

Even  the  production  of  food  was  a  concern 
of  the  Austro-Hungarian  Army  at  the  front. 
Convinced  of  the  impossibility  of  ever  again 
having  to  retreat,  it  devoted  all  its  spare 
energies  to  the  tilling  of  the  fields  behind  the 
*  "  Una  ringt  man  nicht  mehr  nieder." 


A    CAPTURED    AUSTRIAN    TRENCH. 
Built  on  a   river  bank. 


X 

u 

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CL. 


z  .s 

o  = 

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D  » 

Z  i 

<  •= 


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THE    TIMES    H1ST0BY    OF    THE    WAR. 


17 


battle  line.  The  peaceful  pursuits  of  its 
detachments  in  reserve  quarters  no  less 
eloquently  proves  the  confidence  then  pre- 
vailing in  the  Austrian  Army  than  the  luxuries 
and  amenities  of  the  life  of  its  officers,  even 
in  what  for  their  soldiers  was  the  firing-line. 

Towards  the  end  of  June,  1916,  Mr.  Stanley 
Washburn,  The  Times  Special  Correspondent 
with  the  Russian  Forces,  visited  some  districts 
behind  the  Austrian  front  in  Volhynia  and 
described  the  elaborate  arrangements  which  had 
been  made  in  that  region  for  the  well-being  and 
pleasure  of  the  troops  : 

At  a  safe  distance  from  rifle  fire  behind  the  lines  one 
came  on  the  officers'  quarters,  which  seemed  like  a 
veritable  park  in  the  heart  of  the  forest.  Here  one 
found  a  beer  garden  with  buildings  beautifully  con- 
structed from  logs  and  decorated  with  rustic  tracery, 
while  chairs  and  tables  made  of  birch  still  stood  in 
lonely  groups  about  the  garden  just  where  they  were 
left  when  the  occupants  of  the  place  suddenly  departed. 
In  a  sylvan  bower  was  erected  a  beautiful  altar  of  birch 
trimmed  with  rustic  traceries,  the  whole  being  surrounded 
by  a  fence  through  which  one  passed  under  an  arch 
neatly  made  of  birch  branches.  The  Austrians  must 
have  had  an  extremely  comfortable  time  here.  Every- 
thing is  clean  and  neat,  and,  no  matter  how  humble  the 
work,  it  is  always  replete  with  good  taste.  One  of  the 
advancing  corps  captured  a  trench  with  a  piano  in  it, 
and  if  the  stories  of  large  quantities  of  miscellaneous 
lingerie  (not  included  in  the  official  list  of  trophies)  that 
fell  into  Russian  hands  are  to  be  believed,  one  feels 
that  the  Austrians  did  not  spend  a  desolate  or  lonely 
winter  on  this  front.   .   .   . 

Emerging  from  the  belt  of  woods,  we  cross  an  open 
bit  of  country,  and  everywhere  find  signs  of  the  Aus- 
trians' intention  to  make  their  stay  as  comfortable  as 
possible.  In  fact,  the  Russians  can  make  no  complaint 
of  the  state  in  which  the  enemy  has  left  the  territory 
which  he  has  been  occupying.  Nothing  has  been 
destroyed  that  belonged  to  the  Russian  peasantry,  and, 
indeed,  very  little  of  the  works  the  Austrians  themselves 
created.  Every  village  has  been  carefully  cleaned  up, 
each  house  is  neatly  white-washed,  with  numbers  painted 
on  the  front.  Ditches  have  been  cut  along  the  sides  of 
the  streets  and  most  of  the  houses  have  been  tastefully 
fenced  in  by  the  rustic  birch -work  which  one  sees  every- 
where here.  In  several  villages  parks  have  been  con- 
structed, with  rustic  bandstands. 

Arrangements  had  also  been  made  for  the 
local  revictualling  of  the  armies.  Besides 
bakeries  and  slaughter-houses  the  Austrian 
Army  had  close  behind  the  front  its  own  sausage 
factories  ( Wurste.rzeugungsanlagen ),  rooms  fitted 
for  the  pickling  and  smoking  of  meat,  and, 
finally,  suitable  places  for  the  cold  storage  of 
the  provisions.  The  meat-packers  of  one 
army  corps  alone  of  the  army  of  General  von 
Pflanzer-Baltin  produced  every  third  day 
about  a  ton  of  sausages  and  smoked  meat. 
(And  the  description  of  all  these  indescrib- 
able delights  was  officially  given  out  to 
hungry  Austria  about  a  fortnight  before  the 
commencement  of  the  Russian  offensive  !)  Yet 
strict  economy  was  exercised  in  the  slaughter- 


houses of  the  "  Imperial  and  Royal  Army."  All 
tallow  was  carefully  collected,  and  whatever 
remained  after  the  soldiers  had  been  pro- 
vided with  grease  for  their  rifles  and  boots  was 
handed  over  to  the  soap  factory — of  course, 
again  one  owned  and  worked  by  the  Army 
itself. 

Every  detachment  had  behind  the  front  its 
own  vegetable  gardens,  which  were  tilled  and 
looked  after  by  the  soldiers  resting  in  reserve 
positions.  The  total  surface  of  these  gardens 
amounted  to  thousands  of  acres.  And  in  those 
villages  and  camps  behind  the  front  the  Army 
fattened  even  its  own  pigs  and  cattle  ! 

Work  on  an  even  greater  scale  was  done  in 
conjunction  with  the  local  population.  The 
horses  of  the  cavalry  and  artillery  were  used  in 
the  fields,  motor-ploughs  and  all  kinds  of 
machines,  strange  and  incomprehensible  to  the 
local  peasant,  were  worked  by  the  army 
mechanics  and  engineers.  Thus,  for  example, 
the  army  of  Pflanzer-Baltin,  behind  whose 
front  lay  the  Bukovina,  one  of  the  most  fertile 
countries  in  the  world,  cooperated  in  the  tilling 
of  many  hundred  thousand  acres  of  land.  Of 
course,  it  never  crossed  their  minds  that  it 
might  be  not  they  who  were  to  reap  the  harvest. 
One  more  detail  may  be  mentioned  as  illustrat- 
ing the  feeling  of  absolute  security  which  pre- 
vailed in  Austrian  and  even  German  Govern- 
ment circles.  Vast  quantities  of  grain  bought 
in  Rumania  were  stored  in  the  Bukovina, 
comparatively  close  behind  the  front.  When 
the  Russian  offensive  broke  through  the  Aus- 
trian lines,  and  all  railways  were  blocked  with 
war  material,  transports,  wounded  soldiers, 
refugees,  etc.,  there  was  no  time  to  remove  to 
safety  all  the  accumulated  stores.  A  consider- 
able part  of  them  was  captured  by  the  Russians 
or  perished  in  conflagrations.  Thus  near 
Itskany  no  less  than  five  big  Austrian 
granaries  and  15  smaller  ones  belonging  to  the 
German  military  authorities  were  consumed 
by  fire. 

Yet  one  can  hardly  be  surprised  if  the  Austro- 
Hungarian  Army  Command  thought  its  front 
impregnable.  Every  possible  device  had  been 
adopted  to  render  it  so.  In  most  sectors  there 
were  five  distinct  consecutive  lines  of  trenches, 
many  of  them  even  15  or  20  feet  deep.  The 
woodwork  and  fittings  were  most  elaborate, 
the  dug  outs  of  the  same  pattern  which  was 
familiar  on  the  Western  front.  A  thorough  and 
efficient  system  of  communication  had  been 
established    in    the    rear    of    the    battle-line. 


18 


THE    TIMES    HISTORY    OF    THE    WAR. 


PATROL    OF    RUSSIAN    LANCERS. 
About  to  set  off  to  scour  the  surrounding  woods  and  plains. 


Everywhere  were  field  railways,  and  one  could 
hardly  find  anywhere  more  beautifully  laid 
tracks  than  were  those  behind  the  Austrian 
front.  And  this  system  of  roads  and  railways 
was  always  being  further  developed.  When 
the  Russians  broke  through  the  Austrian  lines 
they  came  across  many  tracks  which  were  only 
just  in  process  of  construction. 

More  difficult  than  on  the  high  plateau  of 
the  south  was  the  work  of  entrenching  and  of 
constructing  roads  and  railways  in  the  marshy 
regions  of  northern  Volhynia.  It  was  there  in 
many  places  impossible  to  dig  trenches  of  the 
usual  kind.  Recourse  was  had  to  a  system  of 
parapets  secured  by  breastwork  such  as  was 
generally  used  in  the  wars  of  the  seventeenth 
century.  The  roads  were  made  of  logs,  not  of 
stone  ;  they  were  artificial  causeways  rather 
than  roads.  In  some  districts  they  presented 
one  long  stretch  of  wide  bridges,  at  points  even 
of  considerable  height,  so  as  to  secure  them 
against  the  spring  floods.  In  the  country 
between  the  lower  courses  of  the  Styr  and  the 
Stochod  some  of  these  bridges  attained  even 
the  length  of  two  miles  and  more. 

In  short,  as  far  as  the  mere  work  of  preparing 
their  positions  was  concerned  and  of  organizing 
their  communications  and  supplies  behind  the 
front,  the  Austrians  can  hardly  be  reproached 
with  carelessness  or  inefficiency.  They  had 
practically  the  same  technical  means  for 
resisting  the  enemy's  offensive  as  the  Germans 


north  of  the  Marshes  or  in  France,  and  if  their 
resistance  was  not  equal  to  that  of  their  allies, 
it  was  due  to  the  fact  that  their  Headquarters 
were  caught  napping,  that  the  general  standard 
of  the  average  Austro -Hungarian  soldier  had 
been  lowered  during  the  preceding  two  years  of 
war,  and  that  many  of  the  troops  had  not  their 
heart  in  the  fight.  It  is  possible  that  an 
excessive  amount  of  artillery  had  been  with- 
drawn for  the  Italian  front,  and  it  is  certain 
that  no  sufficient  strategic  reserves  had  been 
left  for  the  Eastern  front.  Yet,  above  all,  the 
fact  remains  that  the  Russian  soldier  had 
established  a  marked  individual  superiority 
over  his  opponent  from  the  Habsburg 
Monarchy  ;  and  he  who  would  not  acknow- 
ledge that  fact  would  search  in  vain  for  the 
causes  of  the  catastrophical  character  which 
from  the  very  first  day  the  Russian  offensive 
assumed  for  the  Austro-Hungarian  Army. 

"  Everything  in  war  is  very  simple,"  said 
Von  Moltke,  "  but  the  simple  things  are  very 
difficult."  This  is  certainly  true  of  the  Russian 
summer  offensive  of  1916.  Its  strategic 
scheme  was  extremely  simple,  but  its  execution 
was  one  of  the  most  colossal  undertakings 
which  any  army  ever  had  to  face.  The 
offensive  extended  all  along  the  line — i.e.,  in 
all  the  most  important  districts  some  sectors 
were  singled  out  for  attack.  The  timing  of 
these  attacks  to  a  single  day  made  it  impossible 


THE    TIMES    HISTORY    OF    THE    WAR. 


19 


for  the  enemy  to  throw  his  forces  to  and  fro 
behind  the  front,  and  compelled  him  to  fight 
each  of  the  series  of  initial  battles  with  the 
support  of  merely  local  reserves. 

The  results  of  the  first  two  or  three  days 
determined  the  further  development  of  the 
Russian  scheme.  "  You  can  plan  a  cam- 
paign," was  another  of  Moltke's  sayings,  "  only 
up  to  the  beginning  of  the  first  battle."  The 
Russian  offensive  was  successful  beyond  all 
expectation  in  the  districts  of  Lutsk,  Butchatch, 
and  between  the  Dniester  and  the  Pruth.  It 
failed  to  break  through  the  enemy  front  on  the 
line  extending  from  the  border  of  Volhynia 
and  Galicia  (round  Zalostse)  to  about  Vis- 
niovtchyk  on  the  Strypa.  Similarly,  in  the 
north,  hardly  any  progress  was  made  on  the 
Styr  below  Kolki.  The  question  therefore 
arose,  how  far  a  strategic  advance  was  possible 
through  the  breaches  effected  in  the  enemy 
front.  Two  of  the  opposing  armies — those  of 
Archduke  Joseph  Ferdinand  and  of  General 
von  Pflanzer-Baltin — had  met  with  complete 
disaster  ;  but  the  army  of  General  von  Puhallo 
on  the  Lower  Styr,  of  General  von  Boehm- 
Ermolli  south  of  Dubno,  and  of  Count  Bothmor 


on  the  "Upper  and  Middle  Strypa,  though  by 
no  means  intact,  still  represented  a  very  serious 
fighting  force,  and  reinforcements  were  certain 
soon  to  make  their  appearance.  Would  it 
have  been  safe  for  the  Russians  to  have  poured 
troops  tlirough  the  gaps  in  the  Austrian  front, 
or  was  it  wiser  to  abstain  from  an  experiment 
which,  if  unsuccessful,  might  have  changed 
one  of  the  greatest  victories  yet  won  in  this1 
war  into  a  drawn  battle  ? 

The  answer  to  this  question  depended  mainly 
on  the  chance  which  the  Russians  had  of  reach- 
ing vital  points  or  lines  behind  the  enemy's 
front  without  dispersing  their  own  forces  and 
without  placing  them  into  positions  fraught 
with  difficulties  or  dangers  in  view  of  the 
imminent  German  counter-offensive. 

There  were  behind  the  Austrian  front  three 
centres  of  vital  importance :  Kovel,  .Lvoff 
(Lemberg),  and  Stanislavoff  (with  the  Dniester 
crossings  at  Nizhnioff,  Jezupol.  and  Halitch). 
On  the  Russian  side  the  main  centres  were 
Rovno  and  Tarnopol,  and  to  a  minor  extent 
Tchortkoff.  The  Russian  force  which  broke 
through  the  Austrian  front  near  Butchatch 
could  not  have  made  its  pressure  felt  in  the 


AUSTRIAN    TRENCHES    AND    DUG-OUTS 

Captured  by  the   Russians. 


20 


THE    TIMES    HISTORY    OF    THE    WAR 


Rossosz 


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°UachoFF  ~ 


■-  To  Prz£my5f 


REFERENCE.      '        }  l^e^s/W  ^^^Zbar^^^fef       ^" 

-Russian  Front  in  Sprmq  1916.  ife""^^  Jez,er^a^?0,./  f 

Scale  of  Miles  1^^^toz^£^e3^*£a'^^s=4=*'      „  »<^ 

/o     20     30    40    so  XaTarnopol^-^^^^^^/0^:,. 


azalya 


THE    VOLHYNIAN    THEATRE    OF    WAR. 


direction  of  Lvoff  until  it  had  reached  and 
conquered  the  Dniester  crossings.  But  this 
was  tinder  any  circumstances  a  formidable 
task,  and  was  rendered  still  more  so  by  the 
fact  that  it  would  have  had  to  guard  against 
Bothmer's  army  on  its  right.  Outflanking 
cuts  both  ways  :  a  Russian  force  advancing 
past  the  unbroken  Austro-Oerman  front  on  the 
Middle  Strypa  might  have  outflanked  the  enemy 
or  might  itself  have  suffered  that  fate.  But 
whereas  a  successful  Russian  movement  to  the 
west  would  have  still  left  Bothmer  the  possi- 
bility of  falling  back  on  to  the  Halitch-Pod- 
haytse-Denysoff  line,  a  failure  of  our  Allies 
would  have  thrown  them  back  on  to  the  "  belt 


of  the  Dniester,"  a  region  devoid  of  practicable 
lines  of  communication.  Hence  an  advance 
on  the  northern  bank  of  the  Dniester  west  of 
Butchatch  would  have  been  an  extremely  risky 
enterprise  as  long  as  Count  Bothmer  continued 
to  hold  his  part  of  the  front,  and  in  any  case 
could  not  have  affected  within  reasonable  time 
the  position  in  north-eastern  Galicia  and 
Volhynia. 

A  Russian  army  advancing  through  the 
Volhynian  gap  could  therefore  have  relied  only 
on  its  own  forces.  But  what  were  the  main 
lines  of  advance  in  front  of  it  ?  The  two  rail- 
ways from  Rovno  to  the  west  (the  Rovno- 
Rozhishche-Kovel  and  the  Rovno-Brody-Lvoff 


THE    TIMES    HISTORY    OF    THE    WAE. 


21 


lines)  open  out  into  an  angle  of  about  tiu°.  An 
advance  to  the  west  would,  therefore,  have  had 
to  follow  divergent  lines  and  would  have  spread 
out  like  a  fan.  Such  a  movement,  risky  under 
any  circumstances,  was  rendered  dangerous  to 
an  extreme  degree  by  the  fact  that  in  the 
course  of  the  war  Kovel  had  been  linked  up 
with  Lvoff  by  the  railway  which,  between 
Vladimir-Volynsk  and  Sokal,  connected  the 
older  Kovel -Vladimir  and  Lvoff-Sokal  lines.  In 
other  words,  at  the  base  of  the  triangle  formed 
by  Rovno,  Lvoff,  and  Kovel  the  enemy  pos- 
sessed a  lateral  line  of  communication  (rein- 
forced, moreover,  by  the  LvofT-Kamionka- 
Stoyanoff  railway),  whereas  our  Allies,  advanc- 
ing from  the  east,  would  have  had  no  such  assist- 
ance for  quick  manoeuvring. 

The  topographical  conditions  analysed 
above  determined  the  main  outlines  of  tl.e 
Russian  strategy  during  the  first  phase  of  their 
summer  offensive  in  1916. 

In  the  Volhynian  area  our  Allies  advanced 
as  far  to  the  west  as  was  compatible  with 
safety "  and  then  met  the  German  counter- 
offensive  on  a  line  on  which  they  suffered  from 
no  disadvantage  in  matters  of  communications. 
In  the  district  of  Butchatch  the  initial  success 
was  not  pressed  any  further  than  was  necessary 
with  regard  to  the  progress  made  south  of  the 
Dniester. 

It  was  in  the  country  between  the  Dniester 
and  the  Carpathians  that  the  advance  was 
pressed  most  vigorously  during  the  first  month 
of  the  Russian  offensive.  Kere  it  was  possible 
to  exploit  to  the  full  the  initial  advantage  with- 


w 


AUSTRIAN    MITRAILLEUSE    GUN 

Captured    by    the    Russians.     It    was    used    as    an 
anti-aircraft  gun. 


AT    RUSSIAN    HEADQUARTERS. 

At    work  on  a  tape  machine. 

out  any  danger  of  sudden  reverses.  The  belt 
of  the  Dniester,  with  its  canons  and  forests, 
covered  the  right  flank  of  the  advancing 
Russian  Army.  By  a  rapid  movement  to  the 
south  and  south-west  our  Allies  reached  the 
foot-hills  of  the  Carpathians  and  soon  even  their 
mountain  passes.  To  the  west  the  advance  was 
carried  on  to  the  very  neighbourhood  of  Stanis- 
lavoff,  where  the  German  counter-offensive  was 
met.  To  the  superficial  observer  the  progress 
south  of  the  Dniester  may  appear  to  have  been 
an  advsnce  into  a  blind  alley,  or  at  least  into 
a  district  of  secondary  strategic  importance. 
This  was  not,  however,  the  case.  Quite  apart 
from  its  great  and  obvious  political  and  econo- 
mic meaning;  the  Russian  advance  south  of  the 
Dniester  was  also  of  first-rate  strategic  signifi- 
cance. It  cut  a  possible  line  of  retreat  of  the 
Austro-German  centre,  which  clung  tenaciously 
to  the  line  between  Brody  and  Visniovtchyk. 
Had  the  district  south  of  the  Dniester  remained 
in  Austrian  hands,  the  armies  on  the  Tamopol 
front  would  have  been  far  less  sensitive  to 
pressure  from  the  northern  flank  ;  their  retreat 
would  not  have  been  confined  to  a  westerly 
direction. 

The  first  onslaught,  together  with  the  period 
during  which  the  initial  successes  were  deve- 
loped and  consolidated — the  advance  of  our 
Allies  west  of  Rovno  and  the  resistance  which 
they    subsequently     offered    to    the    German 


22 


THE    TIMES    HISTORY    OF     THE    WAR. 


counter-offensive,  and  their  advance  south  of 
the  Dniester,  culminating  in  the  capture  of 
Czernovitz — constitute  the  first  phase  of  the 
great  Russian  offensive.  It  coincides  roughly 
with  the  first  month  of  active  operations.  The 
first  days  of  July,  in  which  General  Lechitsky 
carried  forward  his  advance  to  the  west  beyond 
Kolomea,  and  General  Lesh  opened  his  offensive 
north  of  Kolki,  on  the  right  flank  of  General 
Kaledin's  Lutsk  salient,  can  be  regarded  as  the 
beginning  of  the  second  phase  of  the  Russian 
advance  in  the  summer  of  1!)1(>. 

On  June  1  and  2  the  Germans  attacked  the 
Russian  positions  north-east  and  also  south  of 
Krevo  ;  they  continued  their  onslaught  during 
the  night  of  June  2-3.  The  fear  of  approaching 
events  in  the  southern  theatre  of  war  was  the 
explanation  of  this  sudden  belated  burst  of 
German  activity  north  of  the  Marshes.  On 
June  4  the  Austrian  official  communique 
reported  a  violent  Russian  bombardment  of 
different  parts  of  the  Austrian  front,  especially 
of  the  line  held  by  the  army  of  Archduke 
Joseph  Ferdinand,  and  closed  with  the  following 
significant  statement  :  "  Everywhere  there  are 
indications  that  infantry  attacks  are  imminent." 
The  German  diversion  came  much  too  late  to 
influence  in  any  way  the  Russian  offensive 
which  was  now  commencing  in  the  southern 
area. 

For  months  our  Allies  had  been  studying 
the  enemy  positions  and  working  out  the 
details  of  the  coming  advance.  Everything 
for  the  big  attack  had  been  arranged  before- 
hand, and  on  June  4  the  Russian  guns  began 
slowly  and  methodically  to  place  their  shells 
on  previously  selected  points  of  the  enemy 
line.  It  does  not  appear  that  any  attempt 
was  made  to  wipe  out  the  enemy  trenches 
themselves  ;  the  object  was  rather  to  cut 
avenues  in  the  wire  entanglements  through 
which  the  Russian  infantry  could  proceed  to 
attack  the  enemy  positions.  The  artillery  pre- 
paration in  the  different  sectors  lasted  12  to  30 
hours.  Then  followed  the  Russian  bayonet 
attacks.  As  soon  as  the  Russians  entered  the 
Austrian  front  trenches  the  Russian  artillery 
developed  a  curtain  fire  which  precluded  all 
communication  with  the  rear.  The  Austrians 
were  trapped  ;  their  fine  deep  trenches,  covered 
with  solid  oaken  timbers,  fastened  with  cement, 
and  surmounted  by  thick  layers  of  earth,  once 
the  Russians  had  reached  them,  were  cages, 
and  death  or  surrender  were  the  only  alterna- 
tives   for    their    occupants.      During    the    first 


hours  the  enemy  infantry,  especially  the 
Hungarians,  fought  furiously.  Thousands 
were  killed.  Then  their  resistance  began  to 
slacken,  and  they  began  to  surrender.  On 
the  first  day  alone  the  haul  of  Austrian  prisoners 
amounted  to  13,000.  On  the  third  day  (June 
(i),  by  noon,  the  armies  of  General  Brusiloff 
had  taken  prisoners  900  officers  and  over 
40,000  rank  and  file,  and  captured  77  guns  and 
1 34  machine-guns.  Further,  49  trench-mortars 
were  captured,  in  addition  to  searchlights, 
telephones,  field  kitchens,  and  a  large  quantity 
of  arms  and  material  of  war,  with  great  reserves 
of  ammunition.  A  number  of  batteries  were 
taken  intact  with  all  their  guns  and  limbers. 
As  ammunition  magazines  are  usually  stationed 
about  10  miles  behind  the  front  trenches,  the 
enormous  hauls  of  the  first  days  by  themselves 
bear  witness  to  the  swiftness  of  the  Russian 
advance. 

The  shortness  of  the  bombardment  preceding 
the  attack  and  the  simultaneous  character  of 
the  operations  along  a  front  of  about  250  miles 
were  the  novel  features  of  the  Russian  offensive. 
The  results  brilliantly  justified  these  new 
Russian  tactics.  "The,  main  element  of  our 
success,"  said  General  Brusiloff  to  Mr.  Wash- 
burn, The  Times  correspondent,  about  a  fort- 
night after  the  commencement  of  the  Russian 
offensive,  "  was  due  to  the  absolute  co-ordina- 
tion of  all  the  armies  involved  and  the  carefully 
planned  harmony  with  which  the  various 
branches  of  the  service  supported  each  other. 
On  our  entire  front  the  attack  began  at  the 
same  hour,  and  it  was  impossible  for  the  enemy 
to  shift  his  troops  from  one  quarter  to  another, 
as  our  attacks  were  being  pressed  equally  at 
all  points." 

The  most  important  fighting  and  the  most 
signal  victory  of  those  opening  days  occurred 
within  the  triangle  of  Volhynian  fortresses. 
The  original  front  in  that  district  extended  from 
about  Tsiunan  on  the  Putilovka,  across  the 
Rovno-Kovel  railway,  past  Olyka — half-way 
between  Rovno  and  Lutsk — and  then  a  few 
miles  east  of  Dubno  across  the  Rovno  -Brody 
line  towards  Kremieniets.  The  country  north 
of  the  Rovno-Kovel  railway  is  a  sandy  plain 
covered  with  swamps  and  woods  ;  south  of 
Mlynoff  the  marshy  course  of  the  Ikva  and  the 
huge  oak-forests,  from  which  Dubno  derives 
its  name,*  presented  a  serious  barrier  to  an 

*  "  Dub  "  means  in  Kussian  "  oak." 


THE    TIMES    HISTORY    OF    THE    WAR. 


■2:! 


THE    RUSSIAN    ADVANCE    ON    THE    SOUTHERN    FRONT. 
Cattle  for   the  Army. 


advance  of  our  Allies.  The  higher  and  more 
open  country  in  the  centre  offered,  however, 
tactical  facilities  for  an  offensive  movement. 
On  June  3-4  the  entire  sector  between  the 
Rivers  Putilovka  and  Ikva  was  subjected  to  a 
vigorous  bombardment,  the  advance  being 
Dressed  most  vigorously  due  west  from  the 
district  of  Olyka,  along  the  Rovno-Lutsk  road, 
and  from  Mlynoff  in  a  north-westerly  direction. 
Thus  the  attack  against  the  fortress  of  Lutsk 
itself  was  conducted  along  concentric  lines. 
The  brunt  of  the  Russian  onset  was  borne  by 
the  10th  (Hungarian)  Division  and  the  2nd 
Division,  composed  largely  of  Slav  troops. 
The  attack  on  the  very  first  day  cut  clean 
through  their  lines  and  Russian  cavalry  poured 
through  the  gaps.  Large  bodies  of  Austro- 
Hungarian  troops  between  Olyka  and  the  Ikva 
were  cut  off  from  all  possibility  of  retreat, 
before  they  even  knew  that  their  front  had 
been  broken.  On  June  4,  at  headquarters  at 
Lutsk,  celebrations  were  held  in  honour  of 
Archduke  Frederick's  birthday.  The  news  of 
the  disaster  came  like  a  thunderclap  on  the 
Austrian  commanders.  The  13th  Division  was 
thrown  into  the  gap  to  hold  up  the  Russian 
advance.     It  fared  no  better  than  its  prede- 


cessors. The  speed  with  which  our  Allies 
were  moving  beat  all  records.  Almost  to  the 
last  moment  the  Austrian  commanders  at 
Lutsk  do  not  seem  to  have  realized  the  full 
extent  of  their  disaster.  By  June  6,  two  days 
after  the  advance  had  begun,  the  Russian  forces 
had  advanced  more  than  20  miles  from  their 
original  positions.  They  were  approaching 
Lutsk  from  two  sides.  Lutsk  itself,  in  a  strong 
natural  position,  covered  on  both  wings  by  the 
deep  and  tortuous  valley  of  the  River  Styr, 
had  been  changed  in  the  course  of  the  war  into 
a  regular  fortress.  Defences  of  enormous 
strength  covered  its  approaches.  Yet  such 
was  the  demoralisation  of  the  beaten  Austro- 
Hungarian  troops  that  they  proved  unable  to 
offer  any  serious  resistance.  Their  lines  were 
broken  through  near  Podgaytse  a.nd  near 
Krupy,  and  on  June  6,  at  8.25  p.m.,  the  first 
Russian  detachments  entered  Lutsk,  which 
the  commander  of  the  Fourth  Austro-Hun- 
garian  Army,  Archduke  Joseph  Ferdinand,  had 
left  only  in  the  afternoon.  The  ancient  town 
and  the  ruins  of  its  magnificent  old  castle — in 
which  the  Polish  king,  Wladyslaw  Jagiello, 
met  in  1429  Vitold,  Grand  Duke  of  Lithuania, 
and   Sigismund   of   Luxembourg,    Emperor   of 


THE    TIMES    HISTORY    OF    THE    WAR. 


25 


Germany — suffered  practically  no  damage,  no 
serious  fighting  having  occurred  within  that 
area.  The  panic  among  the  enemy  troops 
round  Lutsk  was  such  that  at  one  point  they 
left  six  4 -in.  guns  without  stopping  to  unload 
them,  and  many  cases  of  shell  were  still  along- 
side the  weapons.  In  Lutsk  itself  considerable 
military  stores  fell  into  the  hands  of  our 
Allies.  Similarly  the  Austrians  had  not  had 
the  time  to  clear  out  the  hospitals,  and 
thus  had  to  abandon  thousands  of  their 
wounded. 

By  June  8  the  Russians  had  not  merely 
reached  the  line  of  the  Styr  and  the  Ikva,  but 
had  even  crossed  it  at  many  points.  On  the 
same  day  German  reinforcements  began  to 
make  their  appearance.  First  to  arrive  was 
a  scratch  division  gathered  from  the  region 
of  the  Marshes,  and  including  the  57th  Land- 
wehr  and  the  39th  and  268th  Landsturm 
regiments.  Subsequently  the  18th,  81st,  and 
several  other  German  divisions,  also  from  the 
northern  area,  were  thrown  into  the  Volhynian 
battle  ;  they  were  drawn  mainly  from  the 
Dvina  front- — e.g.,  the  22nd  German  Division — 
and  from  the  Ninth  German  Army.  Field  - 
Marshal  von  Hindenburg  could  hardly  dare  to 
weaken  his  forces  in  front  of  Vilna.  With  the 
German  reinforcements  Genera]  von  Luden- 
dorff,  Chief  of  Hindenburg's  Staff,  was  sent  to 
retrieve  the  Austrian  fortunes.  Von  Linsingen 
was  put  in  command  of  the  Volhynian  front. 
Yet  it  was  not  until  full  ten  days  after  the 
Russian  offensive  had  begun  that  its  advance 
in  Volhynia  came  to  a  halt,  and  then  its  arrest 
was  due  as  much  to  the  requirements  of  the 
Russian  strategy  as  to  the  new  armies  which 
the  Germanic  allies  had  drawn  together  from 
all  fronts. 

On  June  8-9  the  severest  fighting  raged 
round  the  two  main  crossings  of  the  Rivers 
Styr  and  Ikva — namely,  in  the  districts  of 
Rozhyshche  and  Dubno,  where  the  two  chief 
railway  lines  (Rovno-Kovel  and  Rovno-Brody) 
pass  over  those  rivers.  Rozhyshche  was, 
moreover,  an  important  base  town  containing 
large  military  stores  and  a  centre  of  com- 
munications ;  it  was  here  that  the  light  Austrian 
field  railways  to  Lutsk  and  to  Kolki  joined  the 
main  line.  The  Austrians,  vigorously  supported 
by  fresh  German  reinforcements,  offered  a 
desperate  resistance  to  the  Russians  who 
attacked  Rozhyshche  from  the  south-east. 
Still,  under  cover  of  heavy  artillery  fire,  the 
Russian  troops — recently  formed  units — crossed 


the    Styr   and   drove    out    the    enemy,    taking 
numerous  prisoners  and  booty. 

At  the  southern  end  of  the  Volhynian  salient 
our  Allies  captured  on  the  same  day  the  fort 
and  town  of  Dubno.  Here,  however,  the  work 
was  not  as  easy  as  it  had  been  at  Lutsk,  and  the 
picturesque  old  town  suffered  very  severe 
damage.  Simultaneously  with  this  advance 
another  Russian  detachment  captured  the 
Austrian  point  d'appui  at  Mlynoff  (on  the  Ikva), 
crossed  the  river,  and  occupied  the  region  of  the 
village  Demidovka.  During  the  next  few  days 
they  completely  cleared  of  the  enemy  the 
forests  which  cover  this  region,  thus  securing  the 
Lutsk  salient  from  a  sudden  counter-offensive 
from  the  south.  On  June  13  they  reached  the 
village  of  Kozin,  18  miles  south-west  of  Dubno 
and  9  miles  west  of  the  old  battle  front  on  the 
Ikva. 

Due  west  of  Lutsk  the  Russian  advance  was, 
meantime,  progressing  at  considerable  speed. 
A  screen  of  cavalry  was  thrown  out,  and 
detachments  of  Cossacks  were  traversing  the 
country  in  every  direction.  On  June  12  our 
Allies  reached  Torchin,  18  miles  west  of  Lutsk. 
The  next  day  fierce  fighting  occurred  near 
Zaturtsy,  more  than  half-way  from  Lutsk  to 
Vladimir- Volynsk.  By  June  16  the  sweep  of  the 
Russian  tide  to  the  west  in  the  Lutsk  salient 
had  attained  its  high-water  mark.  Their 
outposts  occupied  a  wide  semi-circle  round 
Olyka,  with  a  radius  of  about  45  miles.  It 
stretched  from  about  Kolki  (on  the  Styr)  in 
the  north,  then  followed  the  Stochod  from  near 
Svidniki  to  the  district  of  Kisielin,  reached  its 
farthest  extension  to  the  west  in  the  sector 
Lokatchy-Sviniukhy-Gorokhoff,  and  then  bent 
back  to  the  east  towards  Kozin. 

It  was  on  the  two  wings  of  that  salient  that 
the  last  considerable  gains  were  effected  during 
the  first  stage  of  the  Russian  offensive.  The 
Germans  were  certain  to  start  soon  a  counter- 
offensive.  They  were  bringing  up  fresh  troops 
not  merely  from  the  northern  area,  but  even 
from  France.  They  had  to  defend  Kovel  at  any 
price.  Its  loss  would  have  meant  the  cutting 
of  the  direct  connexion  between  the  northern 
and  southern  armies.  In  view  of  this  strong 
gathering  of  the  enemy  a  further  advance  in  the 
centre  towards  Vladimir-Volynsk  was  clearly 
inadvisable.  The  enemy  forces  were  being 
concentrated  not  only  round  Vladimir,  but  also 
on  the  wings.  The  flanks  of  the  salient  had 
therefore  been  secured. 

Tn   the  marshy  district   of   Kolki,   where  so 


26 


THE    TIMES    HISTORY    OE    THE    WAR. 


many  pitched  battles  had  been  fought,  in  the 
autumn  of  1915,  the  enemy  was  offering  a 
tough  resistance.  Nevertheless  progress  was 
made  by  our  Allies,  and  the  village  of  Kolki 
itself  was  captured  on  June  13.  The  Austro- 
German  troops  were  slowly  retiring  behind  the 
Stochod.  On  June  16,  however,  the  enemy 
attempted  to  counter  the  Russian  advance 
near  Gadomytche,  some  6  miles  west  of  Kolki, 
and  also  round  Svidniki  on  the  Stochod.  A 
violent  battle  developed  in  the  narrow  sector 
where  the  courses  of  the  Rivers  Styr  and 
Stochod  approach  within  some  6  to  8  miles  of 
one  another.  The  German  attacks  were  re- 
pulsed, and  in  pursuit  of  the  retreating  army 
a  Siberian  regiment,  under  Colonel  Kisliy, 
crossed  the  Stochod  near  Svidniki,  capturing 
an  entire  German  battalion.  In  the  same 
battle  the  Hussars  of  White  Russia,  supported 
by  horse  artillery,  charged  through  three  ex- 
tended lines  of  the  enemy  and  sabred  two 
Austrian  companies.  In  the  course  of  the 
next  few  days  the  counter-attacks  of  the 
enemy  against  Svidniki  were  repulsed,  special 
mention  in  the  Russian  official  cotnmunique 
being  earned  by  a  Cossack  regiment  under 
Colonel  Smirnoff. 


Whilst  the  right  wing  of  General  Kaledin's 
Army  was  thus  securing  the  Russian  front 
round  the  Rovno-Kovel  line,  the  extreme 
left,  with  the  help  of  the  adjoining  wing  of 
General  Sakharoff's  Army,  was  strengthening 
its  positions  in  the  district  south-west  of 
Dubno,  on  the  Rovno-Brody  railway.  On 
June  15  General  Sakharoff's  troops  conquered 
the  Austrian  positions  on  the  River  Plash- 
chevka,  between  Kozin  and  Tarnavka  (the 
same  region  in  which  the  famous  Third  Cau- 
casian Army  Corps,  under  General  Irmanoff, 
won  its  first  victory  over  the  Austrians  in 
August,  1914).  One  of  the  newly  formed 
Russian  regiments  under  Colonel  Tataroff, 
after  a  fierce  fight,  forded  the  river,  with  the 
water  up  to  their  chins.  "  One  company  was 
engulfed,  and  died  an  heroic  death,"  says  the 
Russian  official  communique  of  June  16,  "but 
the  valour  of  their  comrades  and  their  officers 
resulted  in  the  disorderly  flight  of  the  enemy, 
of  whom  70  officers  and  5,000  men  were  taken 
prisoners."  On  June  16  our  Allies  entered 
Radziviloff,  the  Russian  frontier -station  on 
the  Rovno-Brody-Lvoff  railway,  whilst  to  the 
south-east  they  reached  the  line  Potohaiefi- 
Lopushno-Alexiniets. 


RUSSIAN    ADVANCE    ON    DUBNO. 
An   Austrian    trench  under  a  ruined  house. 


THE    TIMES    HISTORY    OF    THE    WAR'. 


RUSSIAN    TROOPS    ENTRENCHED    IN    A    FOREST. 


Thus  the  12  days  of  the  Russian  offensive 
in  Volhynia  resulted  in  an  advance  of  30  miles 
to  the  south-west  of  the  recaptured  fortress  of 
Dubno,  and  of  a  similar  distance  to  the  north- 
west of  Lutsk,  the  scene  of  their  initial  successes. 
The  entire  Volhynian  triangle  of  fortresses 
was  again  in  the  hands  of  our  Allies,  whilst 
their  outposts  approached  within  some  25  miles 
of  Kovel  and  reached  the  north-eastern  border 
of  Galicia  in  front  of  Brody.  In  the  course  of 
those  12  days  the  Army  of  General  Kaledin 
alone  took  prisoners  1,309  officers,  10  surgeons, 
and  70,000  soldiers.  It  also  captured  83  guns, 
236  machine-guns,  and  an  enormous  quantity 
ol  war  material. 

About  the  middle  of  June  the  pressure  of 
the  new  German  concentration  was  beginning 
to  make  itself  felt  in  Volhynia,  and  resulted 
in  about  a  fortnight  of  fierce  but  more  or  less 
stationary  fighting.  Besides  the  divisions  from 
the  northern  area,  previously  mentioned,  the 
Germans  were  bringing  up  reinforcements  even 
from  France,  whilst  the  Austrians  were  with- 
drawing all  available  reserves  from  the  Tyrol, 
the  Italian  front,  and  the  Balkans,  and  from 
their  bases  in  the  interior.  Naturally  parts  of 
these  armies  were  detailed  to  the  Tarnopol 
front,  others  were  sent  to  hold  the  Dniester 
crossings,  still  others  to  guard  the  Carpathian 
passes  leading  into  Transylvania.  Yet  the 
majoritv  of  these  reinforcements  were  directed 


to  Volhynia,  to  ward  off  the  danger  which  was 
threatening  Kovel  and  to  prevent  a  further 
Russian  advance  on  Lvoff.  The  desperate 
hurry  in  which  these  transfers  were  made  is 
best  shown  by  the  fact,  which  the  Russians 
learned  from  the  note-book  of  a  dead  Austrian 
officer,  that  a  German  army  corps  had  been 
moved  from  Verdun  to  Kovel  in  six  days. 
But  the  Germans  seem  to  have  come  soon  to  the 
end  of  their  available  reserves — and  then  our 
Allies  resumed  their  offensive  in  Volhynia. 

"  To  illustrate  the  desperate  shortage  of  the 
German  armies,"  said  General  Alexeieff  on 
July  22  to  the  Petrograd  correspondent  of 
The  Times,  "  I  need  only  recall  the  well-estab- 
lished fact  that  four  divisions  were  hurried  here 
from  France  soon  after  June  4,  when  our 
offensive  began.  These  were  the  19th  and  20th. 
forming  the  10th  Active  Corps,  and  the  11th 
Bavarian  and  43rd  Reserve  Divisions.  We 
were  expecting  the  44th  -  Division,  but  it  did 
not  appear.  As  usual,  the  Germans  had  under- 
rated French  powers  of  resistance.  Although 
17  divisions  remain  before  Verdun,  the  enemy 
found  it  impossible  to  move  another  man 
hither,  and  as  soon  as  the  British  armies 
advanced  all  idea  of  transferring  troops  had  to 
be  abandoned.  The  units  confronting  us 
represent  the  maximum  effort  of  Germany. 
They  are  being  moved  about  along  the  Russian 
front,  chiefly  to  the  southward,  in  order  to  fill 


THE    TIMES    HISTORY    OF    THE    WAB. 


■2'.) 


up  the  tremendous  gap  caused  by  the  over- 
throw of  the  Austrians.  Not  a  single  fresh 
unit  has  been  produced  by  the  enemy.  Two 
badly  mauled  divisions  withdrawn  from  Verdun 
constitute  the  strategical  reserve  of  the  German 
Army. ' ' 

On  June  16  the  counter-offensive  of  the 
enemy  against  the  Lutsk  salient  began  on  the 
entire  front.  The  German  operations  which 
had  Kovel  for  their  base  were  directed  mainly 
against  the  Stochod-Styr  sector,  whilst  the 
Austrians,  supported  by  some  German  troops, 
were  fighting  in  front  of  Vladimir-Volynsk, 
Sokal  and  Stoyanoff,  attacking  the  Lokatehy- 
Sviniukhy-Gorokhoff  line.  Before  the  persis- 
tent, violent  German  onslaughts  our  Allies  had 
to  withdraw  their  troops  from  the  western 
bank  of  the  Stochod  near  Svidniki.  Then  a 
furious  battle  ensued  on  the  front  extending 
from  Sokal  by  Gadomitche,  Linievka,  Voron- 
chin  to  Kieselin.  On  June  19  the  fighting 
resulted  in  a  marked  success  for  our  Allies, 
who  captured  considerable  numbers  of  prisoners. 
The  engagements  continued  unabated  on  the 
following  day.  "The  village  of  Gruziatyn 
(two  miles  north  of  Gadomitche),"  says  the 
Petrograd  official  communique  of  June  22, 
"  changed  hands"  several  times.  Yesterday 
afternoon  our  troops  raided  the  village,  cap- 
turing 11  officers,  400  men,  and  6  machine-guns. 
Nevertheless  the  heavy  German  fire  once  more 
obliged  us  to  evacuate  the  village."  On  the 
same  day,  German  attacks  near  Voronchin 
and  Raymiesto  were  completely  defeated,  and 
the  enemy  ■  was  compelled  to  withdraw  in 
haste.  The  battle  was  renewed  during  the 
next  few  days,  losing,  however,  gradually  in 
fierceness. 

No  less  violent  was  the  enemy's  counter- 
offensive  against  the  apex  of  the  Lutsk  salient. 
"In  the  region  of  the  village  of  Rogovitchi, 
south-east  of  the  village  of  Lokatchy  (four 
miles  south  of  the  high  road  from  Lutsk  to 
Vladimir  -  Volynsk),"  says  the  Petrograd 
official  communique  of  June  19,  "  the  Austrians 
attacked  our  troops  in  massed  formations,  and, 
breaking  through  one  sector  of  the  fighting 
front,  captured  three  guns  of  a  battery  which 
bravely  resisted  until  the  last  shell  had  been 
fired.  Reinforcements  came  up  and  routed 
the  advancing  enemy,  recapturing  one  gun,* 
taking  prisoners  300  soldiers  and  capturing 
two  macliine-guns." 

*  The  recapture  of  the  other  two  guns  is  mentioned  in 
the  report  of  June  20. 


^*W 

,    ■ 

B 

^&H 

1 

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JBSBBbJb 

Wr^Hk  ? 

, 

I  w& 

txjBf-' 

I 

;MB 

.jm  - 

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1 

^ktf^ffliltfgKk',,    ' 

S^g^,,,, 

^■2 

H^BbOii 

^S^gW; 

GENERAL    KASHTALINSKI. 

Similar  and  even  more  successful  fighting  was 
reported  under  the  same  date  from  the  Svini- 
ukliy  and  the  Gorokhoff  fronts.  In  those 
sectors  the  enemy  was  put  to  flight,  losing 
heavily  in  prisoners. 

Further  encounters  were  reported  in  the 
course  of  the  following  few  days.  Having 
inflicted  some  more  or  less  sensible  reverses 
on  the  enemy,  our  Allies  gradually  withdrew 
their  line  in  the  centre  about  five  miles.  The 
western  and  south-western  front  of  the  salient 
were  slightly  flattened  out,  being  withdrawn 
on  to  the  Zaturtsy-Bludoff-Shklin-Lipa  line. 
Here,  also,  about  June  24,  the  fighting  began  to 
show  signs  of  slackening. 

In  the  last  days  of  the  month  the  Austro- 
German  armies  resumed  the  counter-offensive 
with  redoubled  fury.  Desperate  attempts 
were  made  to  drive  wedges  into  the  Russian 
front  on  the  Linievka-Kobchi  line  in  the  north, 
near  Zaturtsy  in  the  centre,  and  round  Ugrinoff 


30 


THE    TIMES    HISTORY    OF    THE    WAR. 


THE    BUKOVINA    AND    SOUTH-EASTERN    GAL1CIA. 


in  the  south.  "  During  these  operations," 
wired  Mr.  Washburn  from  General  Kaledin's 
Headquarters  under  date  of  July  1 ,  "  the  conflict 
has  been  ranging  over  the  entire  front  of  this 
army  without  the  enemy  gaining  a  success 
anywhere.  It  is  stated  that  they  have  never 
thrown  forward  such  continuous  masses  of 
troops  heretofore  in  their  efforts  to  break 
through."  A  vast  concentration  of  heavy 
artillery,  up  to  and  including  8-in.  calibre,  with 
quantities  of  ammunition  which  were  stated 
never  to  have  been  equalled  in  volume  within 


Russian  experience,  was  used  in  those  battles. 
Yet  the  Russian  line  nowhere  wavered,  and 
the  enemy's  counter-offensive  ended  in  failure. 
The  meaning  of  that  last  desperate  attempt 
at  driving  in  the  Lutsk  salient  is  obvious. 
The  Germans  undoubtedly  must  have  known 
of  the  new  Russian  concentrations  between 
the  big  marshes  and  Kolki,  where  on  July  4  the 
army  of  General  Lesh  was  to  assume  the 
offensive,  and  of  the  near  renewal  of  activities 
by  General  Sakharoff,  in  front  of  Brody. 
They  also  knew  that  a  British  offensive  was 


THE    TIMES    HISTORY    OF    THE    WAR. 


31 


imminent  in  the  West.  They  had,  therefore, 
to  seek  an  immediate  decision  in  Volhynia  or 
to  give  up  their  attempts  at  regaining  the  line 
of  the  Styrand  Ikva.  The  fateful  day  came 
upon  them  both  in  the  East  and  in  the  West, 
before  they  had  been  able  to  achieve  their 
design  in  Volhynia. 

The  East-Galieian  front,  in  .Time,  1916,  fell 
approximately  into  two  divisions,  which  might 
best  be  described  as  the  Tarnopol  and  the 
Butchatch  sectors,  the  frontier  between  them 
lying  in  the  district  of  Burkanoff.  North  of 
this  boundary  the  ground  is  undulating, 
wooded,  the  valleys  marshy,  and  the,  rivers 
widen  out  at  many  points  into  ponds  and 
small  lakes.  Round  Zalostse  and  Vorobiyovks., 
the  course  of  the  Sereth  and  of  its  tributaries 
and  the  intervening  hills  offered  excellent 
opportunities  for  defence  ;  south  of  Kozloff, 
the  Strypa  was  in  the  main  the  front  between 
the  opposing  armies.  Below  Burkanoff  the 
aspect  of  the  country  changes  completely.  It 
rises  into  a  high  plateau,  cut  by  many  deep 
river  canons,  with  steep  banks  ;    marshes  are 


naturally  very  few,  forests  cover  mainly  the 
sides  of  the  canons,  occasionally  extending  on 
to  the  surrounding  plain.  These  are  the  natural 
lines  of  defence  in  Southern  Podolia.  In  front 
and  south  of  Butchatch,  the  Austrians  possessed, 
moreover,  quite  exceptionally  favourable  con- 
ditions for  defence.  On  a  stretch  of  about  12 
miles  the  stream  Olekhoviets  runs  parallel  to 
the  River  Strypa  at  a  distance  of  only  about  a 
mile  to  the  east  ;  the  country  intervening 
between  these  two  river  canons  lies  like  a 
rampart  in  front  of  the  Strypa  line,  whilst  the 
wooded,  rocky  sides  of  the  winding  canons, 
frequently  bordered  by  stone  quarries,  offer 
most  excellent  opportunities  for  fortifications, 
ambuscades,  gun  emplacements,  and  enfilading 
positions.  The  eastern  approaches  of  the 
Trybukhovtse-Yasloviets  front  (as  the  line  of 
the  Olekhoviets  was  usually  called  from  the 
two  chief  localities  on  its  banks)  are  open 
fields  ;  there  are  but  few  depressions,  and  no 
woods  on  'the  high  plateau  which  intervenes 
between  it  and  the  canon  of  the  Dzhuryn.  In 
the  extreme  south,  near  the  Dniester,  south  of 
the   Ustsietchko-Shutromintse-Yasloviets   road 


BURNING    VILLAGES    ON    THE    VOLHYNIA    FRONT. 
To    envelope    their    retreat    in    smoke,  the  Austro-German    forces   set    on   fire  villages    and   crops   along) 

their  line. 


THE    TIMES    HISTORY     OF    THE    WAR. 


the    ground    presents    serious    difficulties    for 
military  operations  on  a  large  scale. 

On  June  4,  1910,  the  main  Russian  attacks 
were  directed  against  the  Tsebroff-Yorobiyovka 
sector,  the  gate  on  the  Tarnopol-Krasne-Lvoff 
railway  ;  against  the  district  of  Burkanoff 
and  against  the  Trybukhovtse-Yasloviets  line, 
guarding  the  approaches  to  Butchatch  and  the 
Butehatch-Nizhnioff-Stanislavoff  railway.  In 
front  of  Tarnopol,  in  spite  of  most  heroic 
achievements  on  the  part  of  the  Russian  troops, 
supported  in  that  quarter  by  a  detachment  of 
Belgian  armoured  cars,  under  Major  Semet,  very 
little  ground  was  gained.  The  defensive  posi- 
tions of  the  Austrians  were  exceedingly  strong, 
and  the  immediate  neighbourhood  of  the 
Tarnopol -Lvoff  railway,  one  of  the  best  in 
Eastern  Europe  (it  was  part  of  the  Berlin- 
Odessa  line),  offered  them  many  advantages. 
"Whether  the  leadership  of  the  Bavarian  general, 
Count  Bothmer,  contributed  in  any  way  to  the 
success  of  the  defence — as  was  hinted  by  Ger- 
man writers — is  a  subject  which  may  best  be 
left  for  discussion  to  Mittel-Europa  itself.  The 
story,  however,  that  it  was  due  mainly  to  the 
"  heroism "  of  the  German  soldiers  can  be 
dismissed,  as  there  were  very  few  of  them  on  the 
Upper  Strypa,  the  majority  of  the  troops  en- 
gaged having  been  West  Galician  regiments, 
especially  Polish  mountaineers  from  the  Tatra 
and  Beskid  Mountains.  In  the  Burkanoff- 
Bobulintse  sector,  as  a  result  of  a  series  of  battles 
which  proceeded  throughout  the  first  ten  days  of 
the  Russian  offensive,  our  Allies  drove  the 
enemy  out  of  any  positions  which  he  held  on  the 
eastern  bank  of  the  Strypa  and  even  gained  on 
a  considerable  front  the  opposite  side  of  the 
river.  The  most  signal  success  attended, 
however,  the  operations  of  General  Shcherba- 
tieff's  Army  in  the  region  of  Butchatch.  As  the 
result  of  an  intense  artillery  preparation, 
followed  by  infantry  attacks,  our  Allies  had 
carried,  by  June  7,  the  entire  line  of  the 
Olekhoviets  and  reached  the  ridge  between  that 
stream  and  the  Strypa.  After  further  bitter 
fighting  the  Russians,  at  dawn  on  June  8, 
entered  Butchatch  itself,  and,  developing  their 
success,  captured  the  same  day  the  villages  of 
Stsianka  and  Potok  Zloty,  a  few  miles  to  the 
west  of  the  Lower  Strypa.  In  Potok  Zloty  our 
Allies  seized  a  large  artillery  park  and  consider- 
able quantities  of  shells  ;  near  Ossovitse  (north 
of  Butchatch)  a  complete  battery  of  4/4  in. 
howitzers  ;  they  also  took  in  the  same  neigh- 
bourhood many  prisoners,  including  the  staff 


of  an  Austrian  battalion.  After  a  week's 
progress  their  advance  in  that  region  came, 
however,  to  a  halt,  for  reasons  explained  in  our 
general  strategic  survey  of  the  first  phase  of  the 
Russian  offensive.  It  was  not  resumed  until 
the  first  days  of  July,  in  conjunction  with  the 
very  considerable  conquests  of  ground  south  of 
the  Dniester. 

The  problem  with  which  General  Lechitsky 
was  faced  in  his  attack  against  the  Bukovina 
was  by  no  means  an  easy  one  to  solve.  From 
the  north,  where  the  Russian  positions  extended 
about  40  miles  farther  west  than  in  the  Buko- 
vina, that  country  is  protected  by  the  belt  of 
the  Dniester.  Of  the  three  bridge-heads 
across  it,  only  the  most  westerly,  that  of 
I'stsietchko,*  was  in  the  hands  of  our  Allies  ; 
it  was  the  least  important,  as  the  topographical 
configuration  of  its  surroundings  hardly  admits 
movements  of  any  considerable  forces  across 
the  river  at  that  point.  It  could  serve  as  gate 
for  cavalry  or  minor  detachments,  not  as  an 
opening  for  an  invasion  by  a  whole  army. 
The  most  important  bridgehead  of  Zaleshchyki, 
where  both  a  road  and  a  railway  cross  the 
Dniester,  was  entirely  in  the  possession  of  the 
Austrian  army ;  the  enemy  held  also  the 
strong  defensive  positions  which  on  the  northern 
bank  cover  the  approaches  to  the  river.  There 
remained  the  bridgehead  of  Ustsie  Biskupie, 
where  the  river  separated  the  opposing  armies. 
At  this  point,  however,  the  Russians  had  a 
decisive  advantage  :  the  southern  bank  (held 
by  the  Austrians)  is  low,  and  can  be  dominated 
and  taken  under  cross-fire  by  artillery  posted 
on  the  high  northern  bank  of  the  Dniester 
loop.')"  This  sector  was  indeed  to  play  a  most 
important  part  in  General  Lechitsky's  offensive 
against  the  Bukovina. 

Towards  the  east  between  the  Rivers  Dniester 
and  Pruth  the  northern  corner  of  the  Buko- 
vina borders  for  about  20  miles  on  Bessarabia  ; 
south  of  the  Pruth  Rumanian  territory  pro- 
tected the  flank  of  General  von  Pflanzer- 
Battin's  Army.  Most  of  what  appears  on  the 
map  like  a  gap  between  the  two  rivers  js  in 
reality  blocked  by  a  range  of  liills,  called  the 
Berdo   Horodyshche,   and  rising   300-800   feet 

*  At  Ustsietchko  both  banks  of  the  Dniester  are 
Galician  ground.  There  has  been  some  confusion  among 
British  writers  concerning  the  western  frontier  of  the 
Bukovina,  and  it  may  therefore  be  worth  emphasising 
that  the  towns  of  Horodenka,  Sniatyn,  and  Kuty  are 
all  three  in  Galicia,  and  that  Kolomea  lies  no  less  than 
35  miles  west  of  the  Bukovina  border. 

t  A  description  of  the  Okna-Onut  depression  was  given 
in  Chapter  LXXXV..  p.  14i. 


THE    TIMES    HISTORY    OF    THE    WAR. 


33 


THE    RE-OCCUPATION 

New  recruits  passing  through 

above  the  valley  of  the  Pruth.*  Only  in  the 
northern  corner,  between  Dobronovtse  and 
Okna,  in  the  valley  of  the  Onut,  does  the  range 
drop  into  a  small  plain.  This  plain,  which 
was  to  become  the  opening  for  the  Russian 
offensive,  is  almost  isolated  on  the  southern 
and  south-eastern  sides,  where,  on  Russian 
ground,  the  wooded  hills  extend  to  the  very 
canon  of  the  Dniester.  Not  even  a  secondary 
road  approached  Okna  or  Dobronovtse  from 
that  direction.  An  advance  from  Bessarabia 
seemed,  therefore,  to  be  fraught  with  almost 
insuperable  difficulties.  Yet.  having  found 
during  their  operations  on  the  Toporovtse- 
Rarantche  front  in  January,  1916,  that  the 
defences  of  the  Berdo  Horodyshche  could 
not  be  forced  to  any  appreciable  extent 
by  a  frontal  attack,  our  Allies  decided  to 
attempt  the  seemingly  impossible,  and  to  open 
their  offensive  by  a  concentric  attack  against 
the  north-eastern  corner  of  the  Bukovina. 
It  must  be  accounted  one  of  the  most  extra- 
ordinary achievements  of  the  Russian  troops 
in  that  district  that  they  were  able,  to  carry 
out  their  vast  preparations  in  that  diffi- 
cult region  without  being  noticed  by  the 
enemy.  From  the  west  the  access  to  (hat 
sector  is  extremely  easy,  and  even  if  the 
depression  of  Okna  could  not  have  been  held, 


*  Of.  the  description  of  that,  sector  given  in  Chapte 
CX..  pp.  114-HB. 


OF    RUSSIAN    TERRITORY, 
a   town  to  join  the  Russian  Army. 

with  reasonable  foresight  the  Austrians  ought 
to  have  been  able  to  offer  effective  resistance 
on  the  Toutry-Yurkovtse-Dobronovtse  line. 
But  they  seem  to  have  been  caught  by  surprise. 
On  June  2  the  Russians  began  to  bombard 
the  Austrian  positions  at  Okna  ;  in  the  after- 
noon of  the  following  day  the  fire  increased 
considerably  in  violence,  and  on  June  4  the 
first  infantry  attacks  were  launched  across  the 
river.  The  Austrian  troops  withdrew  about 
3  miles  south  of  the  Okna  position  on  to  Hills 
233  and  238.  About  the  same  time  our  Allies 
opened  their  attacks  against  Dobronovtse.  As 
soon  as  the  plan  of  the  Russian  offensive  had 
been  disclosed,  it  became  clear  that  an  abso- 
lutely decisive  battle  was  being  fought  in  that 
secluded  north-eastern  corner  of  the  Bukovina. 
Some  of  the  best  Hungarian  troops  were  sent 
against  the  Russians  ;  some  of  the  best  Magyar 
blood  was  shed  in  this  desperate  contest  on  the 
ramparts  before  the  gates  opening  into  Transyl- 
vania.*     After    four     days     of     fighting    the 

*  Among  the  casualties  of  the  battle  of  Okna  was 
Count  Julius  Esterhazy,  the  third  member  of  that 
family  to  be  killed  in  the  war.  He  was  a  man  of  47,  yet 
had  volunteered  for  the  army  as  a,  private.  Whatever 
one  may  think  about  Magyar  policy  and  the  heavy 
burden  of  guilt  which  it  bore  in  this  war,  their  patriotism 
deserves  the  fullest  praise.  Whilst  the  Viennese 
aristocracy  from  the  very  beginning  left,  the  hard  work 
of  fighting  to  evidently  less  precious  members  of  society, 
and  whilst  the  Prussian  Junkers  for  the  most  part  dis- 
creetly withdrewfrom  the  front  and  busied  themselves,  for 
instance,  with  guarding  the  Dutch  border,  the  Magyar 
aristocracy  continued  to  fight  and  bleed  for  their  country. 


34 


THE    TIMES    HISTORY    OF    THE    WAR. 


defence  of  the  enemy  began  to  weaken.  By 
June  9  liis  position  was  practically  hopeless. 
"  In  spite  of  a  desperate  resistance  on  the  part 
of  the  enemy."  says  the  Petrograd  official 
communique  of  June  11,  "  a  violent  flanking 
fire,  and  even  curtain  fire,  and  the  explosions 
of  whole  sets  of  mines,  General  Lechitsky's 
troops  captured  the  enemy's  position  south  of 
Dobronovtse,  14  miles  north-east  of  Czerno- 
vitz.  In  that  region  alone  we  captured 
18,000  soldiers,  one  general,  347  officers,  and 
10  guns,  and  at  the  time  this  report  was  sent 
off  prisoners  were  still  streaming  in  in  large 
parties." 

On  the  same  day  the  Austrians  blew  up  the 
railway  station  at  Yurkovtse.  A  wedge  had  been 
driven  into  the  enemy  front  between  the  Rivers 
Dniester  and  Pruth,  the  positions  of  the  Berdo 
Horodyshche  were  turned,  the  bridgehead  of 
Zaleshchyki.  one  of  the  proudest  re-conquests 
of  the  Austrian  armies  in  that  region — dearly 
paid  for  in  blood — had  suddenly  lost  all  strategic 
value  :  the  Russians  were  now  in  possession  of 
the  ground  both  north  and  south  of  Zaleshchyki. 
By  June  12  our  Allies  held  the  bridgehead  itself, 
and  even  the  village  of  Horodenka,  the  junction 
of  six  first-class  high  roads  (including  one 
leading    by    Ustsietchko    to    Tchortkoff).       All 


gates  into  Northern  Bukovina  were  now  wide 
open  and  safe  against  any  counter-attack  by 
the  enemy.  The  greater  part  of  the  defeated 
army  of  General  von  Pflanzer-Baltin  had  to 
seek  safety  beyond  the  Pruth  ;  his  front  now 
extended  east  and  west,  thus  leaving  only 
weaker  detachments  north  of  the  Pruth,  on  the 
road  towards  Kolomea.  Our  Allies  made  the 
fullest  use  of  their  opportunities.  They  were 
advancing  rapidly.  The  following  is  the  account 
of  those  clays  given  in  a  Polish  paper  by  a  land- 
owner from  the  neighbourhood  of  Sniatyn : 
"During  the  night  of  June  12-13,  terrific 
artillery  fire  was  heard  in  the  town.  Somewhere 
near  a  battle  was  raging.  For  the  third  or 
fourth  time  since  the  beginning  of  the  war  we 
were  passing  through  that  experience.  I  went 
to  the  army-command  to  ask  advice.  A  staff- 
captain  had  just  arrived  with  news  from  the 
front.  The  Austrian  troops  were  resisting. 
Still,  after  the  front  between  the  Dniester  and 
Pruth  had  once  been  broken  there  was  no  other 
natural  line  for  resistance.  According  to  the 
accounts  of  the  Austrian  officers,  the  Russian 
artillery  was,  with  magnificent  bravery,  driving 
up  to  new  positions,  thus  preventing  our  men 
from  entrenching  and  preparing  a  new  line. 
"  '  How  long  can  we  hold  out  ?  '   was  my 


THE    ADVANCE    IN    THE    BUKOVINA. 
A  Russian  patrol  reporting  at  Headquarters  after  a  raid. 


THE    TIMES    HISTORY    OF    THE    WAR. 


85 


A    RUSSIAN    TROPHY. 
A  gun  captured  from  a  regiment  of  Prussian   Grenadiers. 


question.  The  old  general  looked  at  me  and 
answered :  '  Only  our  rearguards  are  now 
engaged  ;  our  forces  are  gathering  a  few  miles 
from  here.  If  our  flank  near  Horodenka  holds 
out  overnight  we  shall  not  evacuate  the  town.' 

"  I  returned  to  Sniatyn.  .  .  .  Small  groups 
of  inhabitants  were  standing  about  the  streets, 
commenting  on  the  news.  Artillery  and  ammu- 
nition were  at  full  speed  passing  through  the 
town  for  the  front.  A  few  regiments  of  infantry 
marched  through  at  night.  ,  .  .  The  horizon 
was  red  with  the  glow  of  fires.  For  the  third 
time  our  poor  villages  were  burning.  Whatever 
had  survived  previous  battles  was  now  given  up 
to  the  flames.  Homeless  refugees,  evacuated 
from  the  threatened  villages,  were  passing  with 
their  poor,  worn-out  horses  and  their  cows — all 
their  remaining  wealth.  In  perfect  silence  ;  no 
one  complained  ;  it  had  to  be.  .  .  .  Mysterious 
cavalry  patrols  and  despatch-riders  were  riding 
through  the  streets.  No  one  slept  that  night.  .  .  . 

"  In  the  morning  the  first  military  transports 
passed  through  the  town.  The  retreat  had 
begun.  Questions  were  asked.  The  Magyar 
soldiers  quietly  smoked  their  pipes  ;  there  was 
no  way  for  us  of  understanding  one  another. 
Only  one  of  them,  who  knew  a  few  German 
words,  explained  '  Russen,  stark,  stark,  Masse  ' 


('  Russians,  strong,  strong,  a  great  mass  ').... 
The  approaching  violent  fire  of  heavy  guns  was 
even  more  enlightening.  Our  trained  ears 
could  distinguish  their  voices.  Like  a  con- 
tinuous thunder  was  the  roar  of  the  Japanese 
(Russian)  guns  ;  at  intervals  they  were 
answered  nervously  by  the  Austrian  artillery. 

"  Suddenly  the  gun-fire  stopped  and  the 
expert  ear  could  catch  the  rattling  of  machine 
guns.  The  decisive  attack  had  begun.  All 
a-strain,  we  were  awaiting  news.  Some  soldiers 
appeared  round  the  corner  of  the  road,  slightly 
wounded.  .  .  .  Then  a  panic  began.  Someone 
had  come  from  a  neighbouring  village  reporting 
that  he  had  seen  Cossacks.  Soon  refugees  front 
the  villages  outside  were  streaming  through  the 
town.  General  confusion.  Children  were  crying, 
women  sobbing.  A  mass  flight  began.  Again 
cavalry  and  despatch-riders.  Then  a  drum  was 
heard  in  the  square.  It  was  officially  given  out 
that  the  situation  was  extremely  grave  and 
that  whoever  wished  to  leave  the  town  had 
better  do  so  immediately. 

"We  had  to  go.  As  I  was  mounting  the 
carriage  I  perceived  in  the  distance,  near  the 
wood  on  the  hill,  a  few  horsemen  with  long 
lances — Cossacks  from  Kuban.  They  were 
slowly  emerging  from  the  forest  and  approach- 


86 


THE    TIMES    HISTORY    OF    THE    WAR. 


PS 

< 
> 
< 
u 

z 


D 
as 

fa 
O 

w 

o 

B 
J 


ing  the  town.    '  Drive  ahead  !  '  I  shouted  to  the 
coachman." 

On  June  13  the  Russians  entered  Sniatyn  for 
the  third  time  in  the  course  of  the  war. 

The  Austrians  soon  came  to  see  that,  at  least 
in  this  part  of  the  country,  the  game  was  up. 
Near  Niezviska,  north-west  of  Horodenka,  on 
the  Kolomea-Butchatch  road,  in  the  biggest  of 
the  Dniester  loops,  they  had  been  constructing 
a  new  bridge  across  the  river.  It  was  meant 
to  become  one  of  the  most  important  bridge- 
heads, safely  covered  against  attacks  from  the 
north  by  the  two  narrow  necks  of  the  river 
loop.  Once  the  Dniester  line  had  been  turned 
from  the  south  the  position  at  Niezviska  lost 
all  value,  just  as  had  that  of  Zaleshchyki.  The 
bridge,  a  structure  some  40  feet  high,  was 
now  destroyed  by  its  builders.  Farther  back 
to  the  west,  at  Tlumatch,  Ottynia,  and  Kolomea 
measures  were  taken  for  the  evacuation  of  the 
civilian  population.  The  Austrian  officials  were 
leaving  the  towns,  and  all  men  of  military  age 
were  compelled  to  join  in  the  flight  ;  in  many 
cases  their  families  followed  them,  and  a  new 
wave  of  refugees  was  rolling  towards  the 
west.  To  many  of  them,  with  characteristic 
egotism  and  heartlessness,  Hungary  closed  its 
doors. 

No  less  hopeless,  in  the  long  run,  was  the 
position  of  the  Austrians  south  of  the  Pruth. 
The  strong  line  of  the  river  made  it  possible 
for  them  to  hold  up  the  Russian  advance  for  a 
few  days.  Yet  no  illusion  could  be  entertained 
concerning  the  ultimate  issue  of  the  struggle 
for  Czernovitz.  On  Sunday,  June  11,  at  6  a.m., 
an  official  proclamation,  signed  by  Herr  von 
Tarangul,  Chief  of  the  Czernovitz  police,  was 
posted  on  the  walls  announcing  that  on  the  same 
day  the  town  was  expected  to  come  under  the 
fire  of  the  Russian  guns.  What  a  sudden  change ! 
After  a  break  of  a  year  and  a  half,  the  University 
of  Czernovitz,  the  farthest  outpost  of  German 
Kultur  in  the  East,  had  just  resumed  its 
work.*  Its  Pan-German  Professors,  who  in  the 
summer  of  1915  had  been  celebrating  noisy 
festivities  of  "  brotherhood  in  arms  "  (Waffeu- 
bruderschafl)  with  German  officers,  had  now 
shown  their  sure  military  instinct  by  appoint- 
ing Archdukes  Frederick,  Eugene  and  Joseph 

*  German  was  the  language  at  the  University  cf 
Czernovitz,  although  40  per  cent,  of  the  population  of 
the  Bukovina  are  Little  Russians,  35  per  cent.  Rou- 
manians, 13  per  cent.  Jews,  3  per  cent.  Poles  (mainly  of 
Armenian  extraction),  and  only  about  9  per  cent. 
Germans.  These  Germans  are  concentrated  mainly  in 
the  town  and  direct  neighbourhood  of  Czernovitz. 


THE    TIMES    HISTORY    OF    THE    WAR. 


37 


RUSSIAN    TROOPS    PASSING    THROUGH    LUTSK. 

The   principal  street,  through  which  the  troops  are  passing,  called  Emperor  Nicholas  Street,  was  renamed 
by  the  Austrians    Emperor  Franz  Josef  Street. 


Ferdinand,  and  also  General  Conrad  von 
Hoetzendorf ,  ' '  honorary  doctors  ' '  of  the 
University.  Even  the  fatal  day  of  June  4 
was  still  meant  to  be  at  Czernovitz  a  day  of 
festivities.  The  town  was  beflagged  as  "  an 
Imperial  Eagle  in  Iron  "  (em  Reichsaar  in 
Eisen)  was  unveiled  at  the  Ratfiaus  "  in  memory 
of  the  time  of  Russian  occupation "  (zur 
Erinnerung  an  die  Eussenzeit).  The  wide  town- 
square  was  filled  with  people,  and  General  von 
Pflanzer-Baltin  himself  was  expected.  But 
then  in  the  afternoon,  whilst  the  artillery  fire 
in  the  north,  in  the  direction  of  Okna  and 
Dobronovtse,  was  getting  louder  and  louder,  a 
despatch-rider  arrived  with  the  following  mes- 
sage, which  was  read  out  to  the  expectant 
crowds  in  the  square  :  "  His  Excellency  General 
von  Pflanzer-Baltin  is  prevented  from  taking 
part  in  the  festivities  of  to-day,  and  gives 
notice  of  his  absence." 

Six  days  later  crowds  were  again  filling  the 
town-square — no  longer  to  "  commemorate  " 
the  Russian  occupation  of  Czernovitz.  "  On 
Saturday,  June  10,  at  6  p.m.,"  wrote  a  cor- 
respondent of  the  Polish  daily  Gazeta  Wieczorna 


(Lvoff),  who  spent  in  Czernovitz  the  fatal 
ten  days  in  June,  "  military  transports  began 
to  traverse  the  main  streets  of  the  town, 
moving  from  the  direction  of  the  bridgehead  of 
Zhuchka  towards  Starozhyniets.  It  was  an 
interminable  chain  of  all  kinds  of  vehicles, 
from  huge,  heavy  motor  lorries  down  to  light 
gigs  driven  by  army  officers.  The  waves  of 
war  were  rolling  through  the  city. 

"  As  if  at  a  given  sign  the  town-square  filled 
with  people.  Frightened,  searching  eyes  were 
asking  for  an  explanation.  Terrifying  news 
began  to  circulate,  the  excited  imagination  of 
the  crowd  was  at  work.  Mysterious  informa- 
tion was  passed  from  mouth  to  mouth,  yet  no 
one  knew  anything  definite.  A  fever  got  hold 
of  the  town.  .  .  .  With  bags,  boxes  and 
baskets  people  were  hurrying  to  the  railway 
station.  '  Is  an  "  evacuation -train  "  leaving, 
and  when  ?  '  they  were  asking  with  the  persis- 
tence of  desperation.  The  hours  were  moving 
slowly,  and  the  night  came  over  the  city,  full 
of  despondency  and  gloom. 

' '  And  still  the  endless  military  transports 
were  traversing  the  streets.     But  no  longer  was 


38 


THE    TIMES    HISTORY    OF    THE    WAR. 


m 


any  notice  taken  of  them.  .  .  .  The  guns  were 
playing,  the  excitement  was  growing.  At 
7  p.m.  the  civilian  authorities  received  the 
order  of  evacuation.  Everything  was  to  be 
ready  for  the  train  at  6  a.m.  which,  besides 
Government  property,  was  to  carry  off  the 
railway  employees  and  their  families. 

"  The  coffee-houses  were  filling  with  people. 
.  .  .  All  Government  officials  put  on  their 
uniforms,  all  Government  authorities,  even  the 
police,  granted  leave  to  their  employees, 
demanding  no  more  than  a  show  of  the  per- 
formance of  official  duties.  The  town  cor- 
poration paid  out  to  its  officers  two  months' 
salaries  and  sent  them  off  to  Sutchava,  where 
all  the  evacuated  Government  authorities  were 
going.  No  official  was,  however,  to  leave  the 
Bukovina  wit'hout  permission.  (The  fact  which 
naturally  is  not  mentioned  in  this  account  is 
that,  before  leaving  the  town,  the  Austrian 
authorities  arrested  a  number  of  prominent 
citizens  of  Russian  or  Rumanian  nationality 
— among  them  the  Greek-Orthodox  Archbishop 
Dr.  Repta — and  carried  them  away  to  Dorna 
Vatra,  and  subsequently  farther  on  to  the 
interior. ) 

"  The  command  of  the  army  corps  from 
Sadagora  (4  miles  north  of  Czernovitz,  on  tie 
opposite  side  of  the  Pruth)  took  up  quarters  at 
the  '  Black  Eagle  '  Hotel. 

"  Suddenly — no  one  knows  how — the  news 
spread  that  the  army-group  of  General  Papp 
had  evacuated  its  positions  and  was  retreating. 
Even  the  hour  of  the  event  was  known.  The 
information  was  correct.  .  .  .  The  greatest 
optimists  now  gave  up  all  hope.  .  .  .  The 
safety  of  the  Bukovina  was  closely  connected 
with  the  name  of  General  Papp.   .  .  . 

"  The  grey  dawn  found  the  city  in  full 
flight.  .  .  .  The  streets  were  filled  with  crowds, 
the  tramcars  were  carrying  wounded  soldiers,  as 
at  the  order  of  the  army-command  the  evacua- 
tion of  the  military  hospitals  had  been  started. 
The  square  before  the  railway  station  was 
closely  packed  with  people,  but  the  police  were 
admitting  only  railway  officials.  The  women 
were  begging,  crying,  lifting  up  their  children. 
They  had  to  wait — that  train  was  not  meant 
for  them. 

"  At  8  a.m.  the  first  evacuation  train  left  the 
city.  The  next  was  due  at  noon,  or  at  3  p.m. 
Many  people  preferred  to  fly  by  foot,  as  the 
prices  of  cabs  and  cars  had  risen  to  an  incredible 
height.  The  artillery  fire  was  drawing  closer 
and  closer,  and  above  the  heads  of  the  crowd 


appeared  a  Russian  aviator.    Their  hearts  were 
shaking  with  fear.  .  .  . 

"  The  prices  of  goods  in  the  town  were  falling 
rapidly.  Tobacco  and  cigarettes,  which  pre- 
viously were  hardly  to  be  had  anywhere,  were 
offered  at  half-price  without  any  restrictions. 
Women  from  the  suburbs  who,  not  knowing 
what  had  happened,  had  brought  their  vege- 
tables to  the  market,  were  selling  them  for  a 
third  of  the  usual  price,  only  to  be  able  to  return 
to  their  homes  and  children.  For  the  merchants 
in  Czernovitz  the  evacuation  was  a  catastrophe. 
As  they  had  been  supplying  the  army  with 
goods,  they  had  gathered  stores  valued  at 
millions  of  crowns.  None  of  them  could  be 
carried  away  ;  only  Government  property  was 
being  removed. 

' '  The  news  that  the  town  would  soon  come 
under  fire  led  to  a  sheer  panic.  The  crowd  in 
front  of  the  station  was  seized  with  frenzy. 
Against  the  resistance  of  the  officials  it  forced 
its  way  into  the  station  and  invaded  a  half- 
empty  military  train.  The  same  happened  in 
the  case  of  the  next  train,  and  to  all  the 
following  ones.  In  the  course  of  Sunday 
6  to  8,000  people  left  Czernovitz.  .  .   ." 

By  June  13  our  Allies  had  reached  the  Pruth 
on  the  entire  front  from  Nepokoloutz  to  Boyan. 
The  Austrians  had  evacuated  Sadagora,  and, 
withdrawing  across  the  river,  had  blown  up  the 
bridge  at  Mahalla.  They  effected  their  retreat, 
not  without  very  heavy  losses  both  in  men  and 
material.  At  Sadagora  the  Russians  seized  a 
large  store  of  engineering  material  and  an 
aerial  railway.  Reviewing  the  entire  captures 
made  by  the  army  of  General  Lechitsky  since 
the  beginning  of  the  operations,  the  Russian 
official  communique  of  June  13  stated  that  his 
troops  alone  had  taken  prisoners  3  com- 
manders of  regiments,  754  other  officers, 
37,832  soldiers,  and  had  captured  120  machine 
guns,  49  guns,  21  trench  mortars,  and  11  mine- 
throwers. 

For  three  days  the  Austrian  forces  were 
holding  up  the  Russian  advance  across  the 
Pruth.  They  were  considerably  favoured  by 
topographical  conditions.  On  the  southern  bank 
a  range  of  hills  rises  above  the  flat  Pruth 
valley  ;  they  command  all  the  passages  across 
it.  Hence  the  forcing  of  the  river  was  by  no 
means  an  easy  task  :  it  was  achieved  by  our 
Allies  on  June  16.  The  same  night  the  Austrians 
began  the  first  military  evacuation  of  Czerno- 
vitz, and  on  June  17,  at  4  p.m.,  Russian  troops 
entered  the  town,  and  were  received  with  j  o y  by 


1(1 


THE    TIMES    HISTORY    OF    THE    WAR. 


their  own  compatriots  and  the  Rumanians  (in 
so  far  as  they  had  not  been  "  evacuated  "  by  the 
Austrian  authorities).  As  a  matter  of  fact,  the 
town  had  suffered  very  little  ;  although  it  had 
been  for  almost  a  week  within  the  range  of  the 
Russian  guns,  it  had  not  "  come  under  their 
fire."  Only  the  main  railway  station  had  been 
shelled  and  destroyed  (to  the  "  Volksgarten  " 
station  the  Austrians  themselves  had  set  fire 
after  the  last  "  evacuation  train  "  had  left  it  on 
June  17,  at  2.30  a.m.),  and  some  streets  near  the 
Pruth  had  been  slightly  damaged  during  the 
battle  for  the  river  crossings.  TheVicar-General 
of  Czernovitz,  Herr  Sclrmid  himself,  in  an 
interview  with  the  Vienna  Reichspost,  denied 
the  stories  about  the  destruction  of  Czernovitz 
circulated  by  certain  German  and  Austrian 
journalists.  "  The  tales  about  the  residence  of 
the  Greek-Orthodox  Archbishop  and  the  centre 
of  the  town  having  been  shelled  and  destroyed 
are  inventions.  Altogether  six  civilians  have 
been  wounded  during  the  bombardment."  One 
sincerely  wishes  a  similar  account  could  have 
been  given  of  Reims  or  Ypres. 

On  the  occupation  of  Czernovitz,  Colonel 
Bromoff  was  appointed  commander  of  the 
city,  whilst  Dr.  George  Sandru,  the  Greek- 
Orthodox  vicar  of  the  Paraskieva  Church — a 
native  of  Czernovitz  of  Rumanian  nationality 
— was  entrusted  with  its  civilian  administration 
until  the  return  of  Dr.  Bocancea.  (The  latter, 
a  local  Rumanian  barrister,  had  been  mayor 
of  Czernovitz  during  the  second  Russian  occupa- 
tion, November  27,  1914-February  22,  1915, 
and  had  then  withdrawn  with  the  Russian 
troops.) 

The  piercing  of  the  Dniester-Pruth  front  had 
knocked  out  the  keystone  of  the  Austrian  defen- 
sive system  in  the  south.  It  had  practically  cut 
off  the  army  of  General  von  Pflanzer-Baltin  from 
that  of  General  Count  Bothmer.  Then  the 
forcing  of  the  Pruth  line  tlrrew  back  the  troops 
of  Pflanzer-Baltin  on  to  the  Carpathian  passes  ; 
the    forces    gathered    in    front    of    Kolomea, 


Stanislavoff,  and  the  Dniester  crossings  passed 
henceforth  under  Bothmer's  command. 

The  line  of  the  River  Sereth  (not  to  be  con- 
fused with  another  river  in  Galicia  bearing  the 
same  name)  was  the  only  one  south  of  the 
Pruth  on  which  the  Austro-Hungarian  troops 
might  have  held  up  the  advance  of  our  Allies, 
had  they  been  given  time  to  organize  their 
defences.  But  the  Russians  allowed  them  no 
respite.  On  June  18  they  had  already  reached 
Starozhyniets,  south  of  which  the  so-called 
"  Transylvanian  road  "  crosses  the  Sereth.  On 
the  same  day  our  Allies  captured  also  the  town 
of  Kutclmrmare.  On  June  19  they  crossed 
the  Sereth,  and  on  the  21st  they  entered 
Radautz,  30  miles  south  of  Czernovitz.  At  the 
same  time  other  Russian  detachments  were 
advancing  to  the  west,  up  the  valley  of  the 
Tcheremosh  (a  confluent  of  the  Pruth)  past 
Vizlmits,  towards  Kuty.  Retiring  in  haste 
before  them,  the  Austrians  set  fire  to  the  new 
big  bridge  over  the  river.  On  June  22  our 
Allies  entered  Kuty,  and  during  the  next  few 
days  hacked  their  way  through  past  Kossoff 
to  Pistyn.  From  three  sides,  from  the  north- 
east, the  east,  and  the  south-east,  they  were 
now  closing  in  on  Kolomea. 

In  the  Bukovina  itself  the  Russian  advance 
was,  meantime,  continuing  with  amazing 
speed.  Within  24  hours  of  the  capture  of 
Pvadautz,  our  Allies  entered  Gora  Humora, 
some  20  miles  farther  to  the  south.  By  the 
evening  of  June  23  they  had  taken,  after  a 
fierce  struggle,  the  town  of  Kimpolung,  cap- 
turing about  GO  officers  and  2,000  men,  and 
7  machine-guns.  Thus  practically  the  whole  of 
the  Bukovina  had  passed  again  into  the  hands 
of  the  Russians.  As  the  result  of  a  three  weeks' 
campaign,  they  had  conquered  a  province 
more  than  half  as  large  as  Wales,  a  province 
dearly  loved  by  the  Austrian-Germans  as  a 
reputed  outpost  of  Deutschtum  in  the  East, 
highly  valued  by  the  Magyars  as  a  rampart 
covering  Transylvania. 


CHAPTER    CXXXVIII. 

THE   BATTLE   OF  VERDUN  (III.). 

Position  at  End  of  April,  1916 — The  Fourth  Month  of  the  Battle — Political  Situation  in 
France — A  Secret  Session  of  the  Chamber — M.  Briand's  Position  Strengthened — Fighting 
on  the  Left  Bank  of  the  Meuse — Avocourt  Wood,  Hill  304,  and  the  Mort  Homme — French 
Attack  on  Dotjaumont — Changes  in  Command — General  Nivelle — General  Mangin — 
Destruction  of  German  Observation  Balloons — Heavy  Fighting  Described — The  Mort 
Homme  Again — German  Progress  at  the  End  of  May — Enormous  Loss  of  Life — The  Fall 
of  Vaux — Major  Raynal's  Heroic  Defence — Fresh  German  Assaults — Situation  at  Fleury 
— Co-ordination  of  Allied  Strategy — Preparation  of  the  Franco -British  Offensive  on 
the  Somme — Effect  on  the  Verdun  Battle. 


THE  issue  at  Verdun,   once  the  first 
German  plan  of  overwhelming  the 
Meuse   fortress   by    weight   and   by 
surprise    had    been    abandoned    as 
being  impossible  of  attainment,  was  mainly  a 
question  of  time. 

The  Germans  sought  feverishly  to  rain  blow 
after  blow  upon  the  French  ;  to  attract  to  the 
Meuse  front  the  French  general  reserves,  and 
so  to  pound  the  French  Army  as  to  render  it 
incapable  of  giving  any  really  solid  assistance 
to  the  British  offensive  on  the  Somme  which  in 
June,  to  the  knowledge  even  of  the  man  in  the 
street,  was  inevitably  imminent.  The  months 
of  May  and  June,  1916,  were  in  this  respect 
decisive.  The  French  by  the  valour  of  their 
infantry,  by  the  skill  of  their  leadership,  by 
the  growing  strength  of  their  heavy  artillery, 
were  able  during  this  period,  not  only  to  defend 
Verdun  and  gain  time  for  their  British  Allies 
to  bring  the  weight  of  their  mobilized  resources 
to  bear  upon  the  northern  front,  but  also  to 
avoid  the  extensive  loss,  the  utter  crippling, 
which  their  enemy  sought  to  inflict  upon  them. 
Not  only  was  Verdun,  or  what  remained  of  it, 
still  in  French  hands  when  the  British  began 
their  great  offensive  on  the  Somme,  but  in  that 
offensive  the  French  triumphantly  showed 
that  their  reserves  of  men  and  of  material  were 
Vol.  IX.— Part  106.  41 


still  capable  of  supporting  the  double  action  of 
defence  on  the  Meuse  and  offence  on  the 
Somme.  This  result  was  not  achieved  without 
great  labour,  without  stern  heroism. 

The  fourth  month  of  the  battle  for  Verdun 
was  ushered  in  by  some  of  the  fiercest  fighting 
of  the  war.  Worn-out  troops — or  rather  men 
who,  according  to  all  the  tests  of  human 
resistance,  should  have  been  worn  out — were 
called  upon  to  furnish  an  effort  of  resistance 
greater  than  any  up  till  then  demanded  of  an 
army.  There  was  more  than  that.  The 
enemy  at  the  outset  of  the  war  had  clearly 
shown  by  the  nature  of  his  propaganda,  by 
the  tone  of  his  Press  comment,  that  he  still 
possessed  a  notion  of  French  psychology 
dating  from  the  terrible  year  of  1870.  He 
still  imagined,  as  was  shown  in  a  hundred  ways, 
that  the  French  were  incapable  of  bearing 
defeat.  This  idea  he  extended  both  to  the 
army  and  to  the  civilian  population.  Especially 
was  it  a  firmly-fixed  idea  of  the  Germans 
that  when  every  other  ally  played  them  false 
they  would  be  able  to  count  upon  the  pas- 
sionate blindness  of  the  French  politician. 

There  can  be  no  mistake  about  the  Verdun 
battle.  It  cost  the  French  very  dear.  There 
was  hardly  a  village  throughout  the  country 
which  had  not  contributed  to  the  glory  of  its 


4'2 


THE    TIMES    HISTORY    OF    THE    WAR. 


THE    COMMANDER    OF 
General  Joffre  visits  General  Nivelle  (on  right), 

defence.  In  spite  of  a  censorship  which  at 
times  and  in  certain  ways  took  too  timorous 
a  view  of  the  character  of  the  French  civilian, 
the  country  as  a  whole  knew  only  too  well 
what  was  the  price  of  glory  on  the  Meuse. 
It  may  be  easy  for  a  demagogue  to  declare 
from  the  comparative  safety  of  a  public  plat- 
form that  a  country  prefers  death  to  slavery, 
but  when  the  icy  fingers  of  death  seem  to  be 
feeling  at  the  heart  of  everyone  in  a  country, 
only  true  courage,  only  the  purest  patriotism, 
can  support  the  strain.  The  strain  placed 
upon  the  French  by  the  continuance  of  the 
Verdun  fighting  was  manifold.  There  were 
moments  when  all  seemed  lost.  It  became 
a  commonplace  both  in  France  and  in  Great 
Britain  to  say  that  the  peoples  of  the 
two  countries  had  shown  themselves  infinitely 
superior  to  their  Governments.  Great  though 
were  the  services  of  the  French  Parlia- 
ment to  the  common  cause,  it  is  equally 
true  to  say  that  the  French  Parliament  in  its 


THE    VERDUN    ARMY. 

who  in  May,   1916,  succeeded  General  Petain. 

main  manifestations  did  not  adequately  repre- 
sent the  courage  and  steadfastness  of  the  con- 
stituencies. There  were  occasions  when  Par- 
liament, which  knowing  little  feared  much, 
seemed  likely  to  leap  the  barriers  of  common- 
sense  and  embark  upon  political  and  mili- 
tary adventures  of  an  extremely  hazardous 
nature.  That  temptation  became  increas- 
ingly strong  during  the  months  of  May  and 
June,  when  the  nature  and  conditions  of  the 
early  part  of  the  Verdun  battle  became  generally 
known. 

The  whole  of  France  knew  more  or  less 
directly  that  mistakes  had  been  committed.  It 
was  but  natural  that  there  should  be  a  clamour 
for  enquiry  and  for  remedy.  It  is  to  the  honour 
of  French  Parliamentarism  that  this  demand 
never  went  outside  the  limits  of  common-sense. 
The  French  Deputy  showed  the  enemy  clearly 
that  all  his  calculations  founded  upon  political 
internal  disruption  were  based  upon  false 
premises. 


THE    TIMES    HISTORY    OF    THE    WAR. 


48 


There  was  another  and  more  subtle  strain. 
British  propaganda — a  propaganda  destined  to 
inform  France  of  the  real  nature  of  British  effort 
and  achievement — had  been  singularly  in- 
effective. It  seemed  as  though  the  British 
Government  was  unable  or  unwilling  to 
attempt  to  set  on  foot  any  adequate  machinery 
for  supplying  the  friendly  French  Press  with  a 
proper  service  of  British  news  which  would  give 
to  the  bulk  of  the  country  a  real  notion  of  the 
extent  of  the  wholehearted  cooperation  of 
Great  Britain  in  the  war  as  well  as  of  the  value 
of  the  services  already  rendered  by  the  British 
Fleet. 

The  ordinary  Frenchman  of  1916  was  able  to 
converse  with  complete  fluency  and  with  some 
intelligence  about  a  number  of  Continental 
problems  which  had  never  tired  the  brains  of 
his  British  colleague.  But  when  it  came  to  an 
understanding  of  British  conditions,  of  British 
character,  and  of  the  unvarying  nature  of  British 
foreign  policy,  there  was  as  much  ignorance  in 
France  as  was  displayed  in  those  circles  in 
England — fortunately  limited — which  before  the 
war  feared  the  recrudescence  of  a  jingo  France. 
The  French  had  been  told  of  the  efforts  made 
to  recruit  the  British  Army.  They  had  followed 
with  sympathy,  but,  be  it  said,  without  compre- 


hension, the  dying  compromises  of  the  Volun- 
tary system.  They  admired  our  voluntary 
effort  without  in  the  least  understanding  its 
magnitude.  There  was  no  one  to  point  out 
authoritatively  to  them  that  Great  Britain, 
perhaps  alone  of  the  three  great  Powers  of  the 
Entente,  had  furnished  the  means  of  defence 
promised  at  the  very  outbreak  of  the  war. 
There  was  none  to  draw  French  attention 
to  the  fact  that  in  the  preparation  of  the 
defensive  league  of  the  Entente  it  was  never 
contemplated  that  Great  Britain  should  fur- 
nish an  army  on  the  Continental  scale.  We 
were  to  represent  the  sea  and  finance  force 
of  a  defensive  combination,  the  soldiers  of 
which  were  France  and  Russia.  None 
had  '  shown  them  that  our  first  duty  to 
ourselves  and  to  our  Allies  had  been  to  see  to 
the  Fleet  ;  that  therefore  the  first  call  upon  our 
industrial  resources  was  naval.  There  was 
none  to  remind  the  French  peasant  of  the  actual 
mathematical  problems  of  war  equipment.  It 
was,  therefore,  but  natural  that  while  the 
French  were  bearing  alone  the  great  blood  drain 
of  Verdun  there  should  have  been  a  hopeful 
field  for  German  propaganda  directed  towards 
creating  bad  blood  between  the  Allies.  Now 
and  again  indeed,  in  moments  of  depression,  a 


A    FRENCH    GUN. 
In  an  improvised  emplacement  for  indirect  fire. 


44 


THE    TIMES    HISTORY    OF    THE    WAR. 


few  Frenchmen  exclaimed,  "  What  are  the 
English  doing  ?  "  And  yet  it  was  proved 
ultimately  that  a  few  frank  words  from  British 
Ministers  declaring  that  the  British  Army  had 
placed  itself  completely  at  the  disposal  of 
General  Joffre  from  the  very  start  of  the  Verdun 
operations  almost  sufficed  to  remove  this 
feeling. 

The  effect  of  Verdun  upon  the  internal  political 
situation  in  France  was  more  marked,  and 
indeed  at  one  time  seemed  likely  to  be  consider- 
able. Throughout  the  war  the  role  of  the  French 
Chamber  of  Deputies  and  of  the  Upper  House, 


WAR'S    ALARM    BELL. 

A  bell  removed  from  a  ruined   village  church  and 

fixed  up  in  a  trench  to  warn  French  troops  against 

the  German  asphyxiating  gas  attacks. 

the  Senate,  had  been  one  of  great  delicacy 
and  difficulty.  At  the  outbreak  of  the  struggle 
Parliament  in  a  fine  expression  of  the  country's 
feeling  decided  at  once  to  bury  the  political 
hatchet  and  to  leave  the  Government  unfettered 
by  criticism  to  grapple  with  the  many  problems 
of  national  defence.  In  the  first  months  of 
the  war  there  was  in  France  a  series  of 
problems  to  be  settled  similar  to  those 
which  arose  in  England.  The  French  had 
their  shell  shortage  to  meet.  They  had 
many  gaps  in  their  heavy  artillery  to  make 
good,  and  towards  the  end  of  the  first 
six  months  of  war  it  became  apparent  that  in 


some  respects  at  least  the  Government  had  not 
displayed  the  requisite  energy  in  dealing  with 
these  matters  nor  the  necessary  foresight  in 
arranging  for  heavy  gun  construction.  Par- 
liament, therefore,  felt  it  to  be  its  duty  to  resume 
the  functions  of  control  conferred  upon  it  by 
the  Constitution.  The  exercise  of  that  control 
brought  about  no  small  amount  of  friction 
between  Government  and  Chambers.  The 
Ministers  attacked  defended  themselves  with 
tenacious  vigour,  and  already  in  1914  there 
were  Parliamentarians  who  wondered  whether 
in  the  machinery  of  secret  sittings  of  the 
Chamber  the  Government  might  not  be  forced 
to  reveal  all  and  to  deliver  peccant  Ministers 
to  Parliamentary  judgment. 

When  the  first  accounts  of  the  early  clays  at 
Verdun  became  known,  the  clamour  for  a 
secret  sitting  at  which  the  House  could  be 
informed  of  all  the  documents  bearing  upon 
the  conditions  of  the  defence  of  Verdun 
increased.  The  agitation  had  the  support  of 
M.  Clemenceau  in  the  Senate,  and  in  the 
Chamber  of  Deputies  a  large  body  of  opinion 
favoured  the  demand,  which,  after  much 
Parliamentary  fencing  and  skirmishing,  was 
finally  accepted  by  M.  Briand,  the  Prime 
Minister,  and  the  first  secret  sitting  of  the 
Chamber  of  Deputies  was  held  on  June  16. 
The  main  purpose  of  secrecy  was  to  enable 
private  members  to  inform  themselves  fully 
as  to  the  steps  taken  by  the  Higher  Command 
to  place  Verdun  in  a  proper  condition  of 
defence  before  the  beginning  of  the  German 
offensive  on  February  21.  A  subject  of  this 
nature  was  quite  evidently  not  proper  matter 
for  public  comment.  A  Parliamentary  debale 
upon  the  Higher  Command  during  the  very 
height  of  battle  was  evidently  full  of  danger. 
M.  Briand  determined  that  a  debate  restricted 
to  this  military  subject  would  be  more  dan- 
gerous than  a  general  discussion  of  the  whole 
of  the  Government's  war  policy.  The  pro- 
ceedings were  marked  by  one  or  two  inci- 
dents, notably  by  a  speech  by  M.  Delcasse 
on  foreign  policy,  which  failed  to  obtain  the 
approval  of  the  House.  The  final  result  of 
the  secret  sittings  in  the  Chamber,  as  well 
as  of  those  held  later  in  the  Senate  was  to 
strengthen  the  Government's  hands  and  to 
increase  the  prestige  of  its  leader.  No  other 
result  was,  indeed,  possible '  at  a  time  when 
the  whole  future  of  Europe  was  still  under 
public  and  violent  debate  in  the  fighting  on 
the  Meuse.   ■ 


THE    TIMES    HISTORY    OF    THE    WAR. 


45 


A    CORDUROY    ROAD    ON    THE    FRENCH    FRONT. 
Trees  destroyed  by  the  enemy  bombardment. 


Meanwhile,  the  French  nation  as  a  whole 
admirably  resisted  all  the  pressure  placed  upon 
them  by  events,  and  the  attitude  of  the  popu- 
lation, civil  and  military,  was  a  model  for 
futurity.  They  passed  through  weeks  of 
strained  anxiety.     It  was  a  time  of  severe  test 


for  the  General  Staff,  for  people,  and  for 
Parliament.  The  French  war  spirit  emerged 
triumphant  from  these  tests,  and  the  enemy 
failed  to  reap  any  permanent  moral  or  political 
advantage  from  the  blood  poured  out  upon  the 
Meuse  slopes  in  the  continuance  of  the  great 

106—2 


16 


THE    TIMES    HISTORY-    OF    THE    WAR. 


FRENCH    TROOPS 

Leaving  their  billets  to  take  their  place  in  the 

fighting-line. 

effort   begun    against    Verdun   at   the   end    of 
February. 

The  growing  activity  of  the  Germans  on 
the  British  front,  the  aerial  activity  over  the 
British  Isles,  the  attempted  Irish  rising,  and 
signs  of  fresh  naval  activity  in  the  North  Sea  led 
many  persons  to  imagine  at  the  end  of  the 
month  of  April  that  the  German  had  learned 
his  lesson,  was  about  to  accept  defeat  at 
Verdun,  and  was  getting  ready  to  turn  his 
attention  to  the  once  "contemptible"  army  in 
the  north.  There  were,  indeed,  not  a  few 
General  Officers  in  France  who  were  inclined 
to  share  this  view,  which,  indeed,  found 
expression  in  a  semi-official  statement  issued 
in  Paris.  At  the  ■  General  Staff,  however, 
there  were  no  illusions,  and  when  after  a  pro- 
longed pause  the  battle  flamed  up  again 
there  was  no  weakening  in  the  French  armour. 
The  next  great  outburst  of  activity  began  in 
the  first  week  of  May. 

The  course  of  the  fighting  was  extremely 
simple.  On  the  left  bank  all  German  progress 
had  been  stayed  by  the  resistance  of  the 
Mort  Homme,  and  the  fighting  here  consisted 
throughout  May  and  the  greater  part  of  June 
in  a  series  of  tremendous  thrusts,  some  aimed 
directly  at  the  Mort  Homme  positions  of  the 
French,  while  others  bore  upon  the  flanking 
bastions  of  that  great  natural  fortress. 


On  the  right  bank  of  the  river  the  enemy 
proceeded  to  bring  all  his  effort  to  bear  upon 
one  point  after  another,  his  attacks  being 
centred  mainly  upon  Thiaumont  work  and 
the  region  of  Douaumont  and  Vaux. 

During  the  first  week  of  May,  under  cover 
of  heavy  preliminary  bombardment,  the  enemy 
completed  his  new  concentration  of  troops. 
The  battle  began  again  upon  the  left  bank, 
where,  at  the  close  of  April,  the  French  had 
begun  to  make  local  progress  in  the  neigh- 
bourhood of  the  Mort  Homme. 

A  characteristic  feature  of  the  strategic  course 
of  the  Battle  of  Verdun  was  the  tendency  of  the 
German  attack  to  displace  itself  ever  farther 
westwards  and  away  from  the  main  objective. 
They  had  begun  in  February  with  the  vain 
attempt  to  batter  straight  through  the  northern 
front.  They  were  stopped  by  the  Douaumont 
defence  and  tried  to  find  a  vulnerable  spot  in 
Pepper  Ridge.  Here,  also,  they  were  foiled, 
and  were  forced  to  carry  the  battle  over  to  the 
left  bank  of  the  Meuse,  trying  to  get  through 
Crows'  Wood,  Cumieres  Wood,  and  Goose 
Ridge.  This  also  proved  impossible,  so  long 
as  the  French  held  the  Mort  Homme,  which, 
in  its  turn,  became  the  centre  of  attack.    Frontal 


FRENCH    TROOPS 
On  their  way  to  the  trenches. 


THE    TIMES    HISTORY    OF    THE    WAR. 


47 


TO    STEM    A    COUNTER-ATTACK. 
French  advanced  party  waiting  for  the  Germans. 


assault  upon  the  Mort  Homme  had  proved 
altogether  too  costly  a  plan  to  be  followed, 
and  at  the  beginning  of  May  the  front  spread 
farther  west  again  to  Hill  304  and  Avocourt 
Wood. 

The  Mort  Homme  was  the  culminating  point 
of  a  long,  undulating  plateau,  running  almost 
due  north  and  south  from  Forges  Stream  to  the 
Bois  Bourrus.  East  of  it  lay  the  broad  valley 
of  the  Meuse.  On  the  west  the  plateau  sloped 
more  gradually  down  to  the  little  stream  of 
Esnes,  which  divided  the  Mort  Homme  from 
Hill  304.  The  ground  here  rose  rapidly 
through  a  fringe  of  thin  woods  to  a  bare, 
C-shaped  plateau,  about  two  and  a  half  miles 
long  and  a  few  hundred  yards  wide.  For 
three  days  and  three  nights  the  whole  of  this 
ridge  was  swept  by  artillery  fire.  The  French 
were  driven  out  of  their  first-line  trenches, 
and  the  enemy  got  a  footing  on  the  ridge. 
Using  fresh  troops  with  great  prodigality,  the 
enemy  made  almost  superhuman  efforts  to 
develop  this  small  success,  but  on  May  10  he 
was  forced  once  again  to  withdraw  his  shattered 
divisions,  and,  following  the  logic  of  the  battle, 
to  prepare  for  a  further  effort,  and  to  seek  for 
some  means  of  turning  Hill  304.  Thus  the 
enemy  had  attacked  the  Mort  Homme  in  order 
to  turn  the  Bois  des  Corbeaux  (Crows'  Wood), 
he  had  attacked  Hill  304  in  order  to  turn  the 


Mort  Homme,  and  he  next  attacked  Avocourt 
Wood  in  order  to  turn  Hill  304. 

The  French  artillery  posted  in  Avocourt 
Wood  had  proved  itself  extremely  irksome  to 
German  progress  on  Hill  304,  as  it  was  able 
to  pour  an  enfilading  fire  upon  the  German 
troops  which  debouched  from  Haucourt. 
Operations  here  began  with  an  assault  upon 
Avocourt  Wood  at  6  p.m.  on  May  17.  Very 
great  preparations  had  been  made  in  order 
to  ensure  success.  French  airmen  flying 
behind  the  German  lines  had  reported  growing 
activity  along  the  roads  and  at  the  rail  centres 
behind  the  German  lines  ;  fresh  troops  and 
fresh  guns  were  being  brought  in  from  the  east 
and  from  other  portions  of  the  line  in  France. 
The  action  begun  at  Avocourt  spread  east- 
wards until  it  embraced  the  whole  of  the 
western  half  of  the  Verdun  battle -front  from 
Avocourt  to  Cumieres.  The  most  desperate 
fighting  was  in  the  immediate  neighbourhood 
of  the  Mort  Homme.  On  May  18  the  volume 
of  normal  artillery  fire  rose  to  the  fortissimo 
of  battle,  and  reached  its  culminating  point 
at  about  one  o'clock  on  the  afternoon  of 
May  20.  Over  sixty  German  batteries  con- 
centrated their  accelerated  fire  upon  the 
French  positions  along  the  north-western 
and  north-eastern  slopes  of  the  Mort  Homme, 
and    almost    immediately    afterwards    the    in 


lb 


THE     TIMES    HISTORY    OF    THE    WAR. 


Malancourt 


^^3r1  / 


THE    MORT    HOMME   AREA. 


fan  try  moved  out  to  the  attack.  The  tactieal 
idea  of  the  German  plan  was  to  cut  in  behind 
the  hill-top  of  the  Mort  Homme  from  the 
north-east  and  north-west.  The  troops  of  a 
fresh  division  were  told  off  to  push  through 
the  attack  from  the  north-east,  to  carry 
Crows'  Wood,  and  Les  Caurettes,  and  to  join 
up  with  the  thrust  made  from  the  north- 
west.      ' 

The  eastern  attack  met  with  but  slight 
success.  The  first-line  trenches  of  the  French 
had,  as  was  inevitable,  crumbled  away  under 
the  preliminary  bombardment,  but  with  their 
splendid  tenacity  the  men  of  the  French 
machine  gun  sections  did  not  lightly  abandon 
their  positions.  The  Germans  were  received 
by  a  vigorous  fire,  but  pressing  forward  in  ever- 
growing numbers,  they  swept  on  across  the  first 
trench  line,  and  advanced  in  strength  upon  the 
second  line  of  defence.  Here  they  were  met  by 
concentrated  and  combined  machine  gun  and 
artillery  fire.  Their  losses  were  extremely 
heavy.  They  fought  with  great  vigour  and 
determination,  and  at  one  time  succeeded  in 
getting  right  into  the  second  line  of  trenches. 
Here  progress  was  stopped.  In  vain  did  the 
Germans  fling  a  neighbouring  division  into 
the  battle  in  the  hope  of  consolidating  the 
first  positions  captured,  and  of  driving  through 
to  the  rear  of  the  Mort  Homme  ;  they  were 
quite  unable  to  make  any  headway. 

On  the  western  slopes  the  enemy  fared  a  little 
better.  At  the  cost  of  heavy  losses  he  gained 
possession  of  the  French  trenches  on  the  south 
and  south-west  slopes  of  the  ridge.  The  result 
achieved  by  the  operations  was  small  in  geo- 
graphy, but  large  in  promise.    The  Mort  Homme 


was  no  longer  a  French  position.  Its  summit 
was  swept  by  the  fire  of  the  guns  on  both  sides. 
The  French  had  been  driven  down  into  the 
slight  depression  separating  the  top  of  the  Mort 
Homme  from  the  next  eminence  to  the  south. 

The  exact  price  paid  for  this  progress  will 
never  be  known,  but  there  was  enough  in  the 
evidence  of  the  battlefield  and  of  prisoners  to 
justify  the  belief  that  about  three-quarters  of 
the  total  number  of  troops  engaged  on  the  drive 
from  the  north-east  were  killed  or  wounded. 
The  attacks  were  not,  however,  carried  out  in 
the  most  deadly  formation,  bvit  were  entrusted 
to  seven  and  in  some  cases  eight  successive 
waves  of  infantry,  separated  one  from  the  other 
by  between  fifty  and  a  hundred  yards. '  The 
whole  of  the  Bavarian  brigade  engaged,  which 
took  part  in  the  fighting  at  this  point,  was 
caught  in  the  curtain  fire  of  the  French  machine 
guns,  and  ceased  to  exist  as  a  useful  unit.  The 
desperate  nature  of  the  fighting  can  well  be 
imagined  from  the  account  given  of  it  by  an 
officer  who  was  engaged.  He  had  seen  Ypres, 
Souchez,  and  Carency,  and  declared  that  even 
after  Ypres  and  Carency,  even  after  the  first 
onslaught  in  the  Verdun  sector,  he  could  not 
have  believed  that  a  battle  could  reach  such 
a  pitch  of  fury. 

"  Nothing  that  the  manuals  say,  nothing 
that  the  technicians  have  foreseen,  is  true  to- 
day. Even  under  a  hail  of  shells  troops  can 
fight  on,  and  beneath  the  most  terrific  bombard- 
ment it  is  still  the  spirit  of  the  combatants  which 
counts.  The  German  bombardments  outdid  all 
previsions. 

"  When  my  battalion  was  called  up  as  rein- 
forcements on  May  20,  the  dug-outs  and  trenches 


THE    TIMES    HISTORY    OF    THE    WAR. 


49 


of  the  first  French  line  were  already  completely 
destroyed.  The  curtain  fire  of  the  Gennans, 
which  had  succeeded  their  bombardment  of  the 
front  lines,  fell  on  the  road  more  than  two 
kilometres  behind  these.  Now  and  then  the 
heavy  long-distance  guns  of  the  Germans 
lengthened  their  fire  in  an  attempt  to  reach  our 
batteries  and  their  communications.  At  eight 
o'clock  in  the  evening,  when  we  arrived  in  auto- 
'buses  behind  the  second  or  third  lines,  several 
shells  reached  our  wagons,  and  killed  men. 
The  excellent  spirit  of  the  battalion  suffered  not 
at  all,  and  this  is  the  more  to  be  noted,  since  it 
is  far  easier  to  keep  one's  dash  and  spirit  in  the 
heat  of  actual  battle  than  when  one  is  just 
approaching  it.  I  have  read  a  good  many 
stories  of  battle,  and  some  of  their  embroideries 
appear  to  me  rather  exaggerated  ;  the  truth  is 
quite  good  enough  by  itself.  Although  they 
were  bombarded  beforehand,  my  men  went  very 
firmly  into  action.  The  cannonade  worked  on 
the  ears  and  the  nerves,  getting  louder  with 
every  step  nearer  the  front,  till  the  very  earth 
shook,  and  our  hearts  jumped  in  our  breasts. 

"  Where  we  were  there  were  hardly  any 
trenches  nor  communication  trenches  left. 
Every  half -hour  the  appearance  of  the  earth  was 


COMMUNICATION    TRENCHES. 

A    stairway   leading   from    one    French    trench    to 

another. 


IN    THE    TRENCHES. 
A  deep  and  well-constructed  trench. 

changed  by  the  unflagging  shell  fire.  It  was  a 
perfect  cataract  of  fire.  We  went  forward  by 
fits  and  starts,  taking  cover  in  shell-holes,  and 
sametimes  we  saw  a  shell  drop  in  the  very  hole 
we  had  chosen  for  our  next  leap  forwards.  A 
hundred  men  of  the  battalion  were  half  buried, 
and  we  had  scarcely  the  time  to  stop  and  help 
them  to  get  themselves  out.  Suddenly  we 
arrived  at  what  remained  of  our  first-line 
trenches,  just  as  the  Boches  arrived  at  our 
barbed  wire  entanglements — or,  rather,  at  the 
caterpillar-like  remains  of  our  barbed  wire. 

"  At  this  moment  the  German  curtain  fire 
lengthened,  and  most  of  our  men  buried  in 
shell-holes  were  able  to  get  out  and  rejoin  us. 
The  Germans  attacked  in  massed  formation,  by 
big  columns  of  five  or  six  hundred  men,  preceded 
by  two  waves  of  sharpshooters.  We  had  only 
our  rifles  and  our  machine-guns,  because  the 
75's  could  not  get  to  work. 

"  Fortunately  the  flank  batteries  succeeded 
in  catching  the  Boches  on  the  right.  It  is  abso- 
lutely impossible  to  convey  what  losses  the 
Germans  must  suffer  in  these  attacks  Nothing 
can  give  an  idea  of  it.  Whole  ranks  are  mowed 
down,  and  those  that  follow  them  suffer  the  same 
fate.     Under  the  storm  of  machine-gun,  rifle 


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50 


THE    TIMES    HISTORY    OF    THE    WAR. 


and  75  fire,  the  German  columns  were  ploughed 
into  furrows  of  death.  Imagine  if  you  can 
what  it  would  he  like  to  rake  water.  Those 
gaps  filled  up  again  at  once.  That  is  enough 
to  show  with  what  disdain  of  human  life  the 
German  attacks  are  planned  and  carried  out. 

"  In  these  circumstances  German  advances 
are  sure.  They  startle  the  public,  but  at  the 
front  nobody  attaches  any  importance  to  them. 
As  a  matter  of  fact,  our  trenches  are  so  near- 
those  of  the  Germans  that  once  the  barbed  wire 
is  destroyed  the  distance  between  them  can  be 
covered  in  a  few  minutes.  Thus,  if  one  is 
willing  to  suffer  a  loss  of  life  corresponding  to 
the  number  of  men  necessary  to  cover  the  space 
between  the  lines,  the  other  trench  can  always 
be  reached.  By  sacrificing  thousands  of  men, 
after  a  formidable  bombardment,  an  enemy 
trench  can  always  be  taken. 

"  There  are  slopes  on  Hill  304  where  the  level 
of  the  ground  is  raised  several  metres  by 
mounds  of  German  corpses.  Sometimes  it 
happens  that  the  third  German  wave  uses  the 
dead  of  the  second  wave  as  ramparts  and 
shelters.  It  was  behind  ramparts  of  the  dead 
left  by  the  first  five  attacks,  on  May  24,  that  we 
saw  the  Bodies  take  shelter  while  they  organized 
their  next  rush. 

"  We  make  prisoners  among  these  dead 
during  our  counter-attacks.  They  are  men 
who  have  received  no  hurt,  but  have  been 
knocked  down  by  the  falling  of  the  human  wall 
of  their  killed  and  wounded  neighbours.  They 
say  very  little.  They  are  for  the  most  part 
dazed  with  fear  and  alcohol,  and  it  is  several 
days  before  they  recover." 

The  flame  on  the  left  bank  spread  the  next 
day  (May  22)  to  the  whole  Verdun  front,  and 
the  French  in  a  brilliant  dash  upon  the  Fort 
of  Douatimont  opened  one  of  the  most  glorious 
chapters  of  the  defence  upon  the  right  bank. 

Douaumont  had  long  been  one  of  the  white- 
heat  points  in  the  furnace.  When  the  Ger- 
mans announced  throughout  the  world  on 
February  26  that  their  "  doughty  Branden- 
burgers  "  had  captured  the  position  they  doubt- 
less piously  believed  that  they  had  in  fact  won 
command  of  the  key  of  the  whole  Meuse  posi- 
tion. As  has  been  explained  in  previous 
chapters,  the  course  of  modern  warfare  had 
completely  altered  the  kind  of  services  which 
the  ring  of  old-style  forts  around  Verdun  was 
called  upon  to  play.  While  the  positions  which 
had  been  crowned  by  forts  naturally  retained 


GENERAL    JOFFRE    AT    VERDUN. 

Congratulating  the  General  in  command  at 

Hill  304. 

their  former  importance  in  relation  to  the 
terrain,  they  became  from  a  fortification  point 
of  view  nothing  but  extremely  strong  links  in 
the  wide  scheme  of  field  works.  Douaumont 
Fort,  therefore,  while  completely  changed  by 
the  development  of  war,  while  it  had  lost  its 
old  meaning,  nevertheless  kept  its  old  import- 
ance as  an  observation  point  and  as  a  position 
from  which  the  approaches  to  Vaux  and  Bras 
Fort  could  be  swept  by  fire. 

Moreover,  the  Germans  who  first  entered  the 
fort  on  February  26  were  few  in  number,  and  for 
many  a  long  day  the  chief  preoccupation  of  the 
enemy  at  this  point  of  the  line  was  to  hang  on 
like  grim  death  to  the  slender  hold  he  had 
acquired  without  a  thought  of  any  advance 
towards  Paris.  Having  with  difficulty  consoli- 
dated his  position,  the  enemy  then  sought  to 
improve  it.  After  much  hard  fighting  he  pressed 
the  French  down  the  southern  slope  of  Douau- 
mont, but  he  was  never  able  to  make  his  posi- 
tion there  entirely  sure. 

The   French,   on  their  side,  had  here  as  at 


52 


THE    TIMES    HISTORY    OF    THE    WAR. 


LOADING    A    F 

other  points  along  the  line  the  fixed  principle  of 
profiting  from  every  opportunity  to  hinder  the 
enemy's  progress  and  upset  his  calculations 
with  vigorous  local  counter-attacks.  It  was 
the  settled  policy  of  steady  defensive  with 
occasional  flashes  of  aggression.  When  Douau- 
mont  Fort  fell,  its  work  devolved  upon  Vaux 
Fort,  and  with  this  point  of  resistance  as  a  sort 
of  base  behind  them  the  French  in  March  and 
April  worked  steadily  if  slowly  back  towards 
Douaumont. 

While  the  Germans  were  getting  more  and 
more  heavily  engaged  upon  the  left  bank  of  the 
river  in  their  effort  against  the  Mort  Homme, 
the  French  pushed  up  east  and  west  of  Douau- 
mont towards  Thiaumont  Farm  and  Caillette 
Wood  as  a  preliminary  to  a  direct  attack  upon 
the  Douaumont  position  itself. 

The  Germans  devoted  their  picked  troops  to 
the  capture  of  Douaumont  in  February,  for  only 
solid  troops  could  be  expected  successfully  to 
carry  a  position  of  its  strength.  The  French, 
in  their  turn,  entrusted  the  execution  of  the 
operations  to  the  Fifth  Division  under  General 
Mangin,  one  of  the  most  dashing  of  our  Ally's 
leaders. 

The  preparation  of  the  French  attack  was 
carried  out  with  a  secrecy  which  had  been  notice- 
ably absent  from  the  planning  of  other  opera- 
tions of  this  importance.  Directly  responsible 
for  the  plans  was  General  Nivello,  who  from  the 
beginning  of  May  had  been  placed  in  direct 
command  of  the  Verdun  army  in  succession  to 


RENCH    MORTAR. 

General  Petain.  General  Petain  had  taken  the 
place  of  General  Langle  de  Gary,  who  at  the 
beginning  of  the  Verdun  offensive  was  in  com- 
mand of  the  Central  Group  of  the  French 
Armies  and  included  in  his  front  the  Verdun 
area.  General  Langle  de  Gary  was  appointed 
to  an  Inspectorship  in  the  rear  in  the  early 
stages  of  the  Verdun  fighting. 

Petain's  successor  had  a  long  record  of  pre- 
war service  in  the  Colonies.  He  was  an  old 
Polytechnique  man,  and  had  specialized  in  the 
use  of  artillery.  His  career  was  in  many 
respects  similar  to  that  of  Petain.  The  war 
found  him  in  command  of  the  Fifth  Infantry 
Regiment.  In  October,  1914,  he  commanded 
a  Brigade.  In  February,  1915,  he  was  acting 
Commander  of  the  Sixth  Division  and  then  as 
General  of  Division  took  over  the  Third  Army 
Corps. 

Invention  had  placed  in  General  Nivelle's 
hands  a  very  useful  means  of  ensuring  tactical 
secrecy,  so  difficult  to  obtain  with  the  develop- 
ment of  the  Air  Services  and  the  swarms  of  kite 
sausages  which  floated  above  the  Meuse  Hills. 
A  new  type  of  bomb  for  destroying  these 
balloons,  which  was  used  with  such  effect 
later  in  the  opening  stages  of  the  Somme 
offensive,  was  introduced  in  the  preparation  of 
the  French  attack  upon  Douaumont,  and  before 
General  Mangin's  men  were  set  in  motion  the 
enemy  was  partially  blinded  by  the  destruction 
by  aircraft  of  six  of  his  observation  balloons. 

The  great  interest  of  the  Douaumont  battles 


THE    TIMES    HISTORY    OF     THE    WAR. 


.33 


is  that  the  study  of  no  other  portion  of  the 
operations  gives  so  clear  an  idea  of  the  real  cause 
of  German  failure  to  break  through.  The  great 
factor  which  the  Germans  had  completely  under- 
estimated was  the  fighting  spirit  of  the  French 
soldier.  And  at  Verdun  the  French  showed 
that  however  great  might  have  become  the 
importance  of  artillery  the  infantry  were  still, 
and  perhaps  more  than  ever,  the  Queen  of 
Battle. 

The  troops  allotted  to  the  recapture  of  Douau- 
mont  were  no  strangers  to  Verdun.  Fpon  the 
Fifth  Division  had  fallen  the  brunt  of  the  enemy 
onslaughts  in  the  Vaux-Douaumont  region  at 
the  beginning  of  April.  They  suffered  heavily, 
b\it  before  they  left  to  refit  in  the  rear  General 
Mang'n,  addressing  his  men,  said  :  "  You  are 
going  to  reform  your  depleted  ranks.  Many 
among  you  will  return  to  your  homes  and  will 
bear  with  you  to  your  families  the  warlike 
ardour  and  the  thirst  for  vengeance  which 
inspires  you.  '  There  is  no  rest  for  any  French- 
man so  long  as  the  barbarous  enemy  treads  the 
hallowed  ground  of  our  country  ;  there  can  be 
no  peace  for  the  world  so  long  as  the  monster 
of  Prussian  militarism  has  not  been  laid  low. 
You  will  therefore  prepare  yourselves  for  further 
battles,  in  which  you  will  have  the  absolute 
certainty  of  your  superiority  over  an  enemy 
whom  you  have  seen  so  often  flee  or  raise  his 
hands  before  your  bayonets  and  grenades. 
You  are  certain  of  that  now.     Any  German  who 


gets  into  a  trench  of  the  Fifth  Division  is  dead 
or  captured.  Any  position  methodically  at- 
tacked by  the  Fifth  Division  is  a  captured 
position.  You  march  under  the  wings  of 
Victory."  A  month  later  they  were  back, 
burning  to  justify  the  confidence  of  their  chief. 
The  "  methodical  "  preparation  of  the  assault 
was  thoroughly  well  carried  out.  For  two  days 
the  French-  poured  high  explosive  upon  the 
already  battered  ruins  of  the  Fort.  An  officer 
who  took  part  in  the  attack  thus  described  the 
operations  :  "  On  the  horizon  the  top  of 
Douaumont  was  crowned  with  sombre  smoke. 
It  looked  like  a  volcano  in  full  eruption,  and 
under  the  formidable  fire  of  the  French  artillery 
our  infantry  was  getting  on  with  its  preparation 
for  attack,  was  digging  its  attacking  trenches 
and  making  all  its  last  dispositions.  Shortly 
before  eight  o'clock  on  May  22  one  of  our  air- 
squadrons  flew  up  and  went  over  the  enemy 
lines.  A  few  minutes  afterwards  six  of  the 
sausage  balloons  of  the  enemy  on  the  right  bank 
of  the  Meuse  exploded.  Our  pilots  had  carried 
out  their  task,  they  had  deprived  the  German 
artillery  of  its  best  means  of  observation,  and 
had  considerably  interfered  with  its  efficiency 
for  a  part,  at  any  rate,  of  the  day.  One  of  our 
soidiers,  who  was  struck  by  the  fact  that  the 
enemy  shell  was  falling  far  from  the  zone 
normally  swept  by  their  guns,  said  to  his 
colonel :  '  We've  put  a  bandage  round  the 
Boche's  eyes.'  " 


GETTING    READY    TO    FIRE. 


106—3 


54 


THE     TIMES    HISTORY    OF    THE    WAR. 


Nevertheless,  the  Germans,  feeling  the 
imminence  of  the  attack  and  the  approach  of 
danger,  flooded  our  first  lines  with  a  storm 
of  shrapnel,  while  our  artillery  increased  its 
speed,  and  was  vomiting  shells  with  all  its 
strength.  As  an  officer  said,  there  was  a  per- 
petual moan  such  as  had  never  been  heard 
before.  The  hour  of  attack  drew  near.  All 
our  men  knew  the  price  of  it.  They  knew  the 
fighting  at  Neuville  St.  Vaast,  the  offensive 
in  the  Champagne,  the  hand-to-hand  struggles 
in  the  Bois  des  Caillettes  ;  they  knew  the  work 
of  German  artillery  and  of  the  enemy  in  front 
of  them.  Their  respective  duties  were  care- 
fully laid  down.  The  centre  had  the  big 
job  allotted  to  it,  to  carry  the  ruins  of  the  fort  ; 
the  right  and  the  left  were  to  take  the  enemy 
trenches  east  and  west,  and  endeavour  to 
surround  the  position.  Each  one  of  them  knew 
his  duty,  and  appreciated  the  value  of  the 
effort  demanded  of  him. 

Soldiers  such  as  these  would  not  be  denied. 
At  10  minutes  to  12  they  all  dashed 
forward.  There  was  no  singing,  and  they  did 
not  form  a  battle  picture.  They  bounded 
from  shell  hole  to  shell  hole,  from  obstacle  to 
obstacle,  lying  down,  disappearing,  rushing 
forward  again,  some  falling  never  to  get  up 
again.  A  splendid  flame  burned  through  them. 
At  noon  the  staff  aeroplane  reported  that  a 
Bengal  fire  was  burning  on  Douaumont  fort. 
The  129th  Regiment  had  taken  11  minutes 
to  carry  three  lines  of  enemy  trench,  and  to 
reach  its  objective. 

On  the  left,  all  the  German  trenches  on  the 
west  of  the  fort  as  far  as  the  road  from  Douau- 
mont to  Fleury  had  fallen  into  French  hands  : 
the  36th  Regimont  had  carried  out  its  part 
of  the  task.  At  the  same  time  detachments 
of  infantry  and  sappers  got  inside  the  fort, 
and  covered  the  operations  of  those  entrusted 
with  the  destruction  of  flanking  positions, 
and  with  the  blocking  of  exits  from  the  fort. 
Bengal  fires  going  up  one  after  the  other 
showed  what  progress  was  being  made.  It 
was  reported  to  the  staff  of  the  Tenth  Brigade 
that  the  surrounding  movement  was  being 
effected  in  excellent  conditions.  The  north- 
western and  the  northern  angle  were  reached, 
and  mitrailleuses  were  put  in  place. 

Meanwhile,  east  of  the  fort,  the  progress 
of  the  74th  Regiment  had  met  with  great 
opposition.  The.  left  had  pushed  forward 
rapidly,  but  the  right  had  been  under  heavy 
fire  from  the  enemy's  communication  trenches 


which  commanded  their  flank.  In  spite  of 
all  efforts  this  break  slowed  down  progress. 
The  north-eastern  angle  of  the  fort  was  still  in 
German  hands.  We  held  over  two-thirds  of  the 
whole  position,  and  sent  back  many  prisoners 
to  the  rear.  Half  an  hour  after  the  staff 
aeroplane  signal  had  been  received — that  is 
to  say,  less  than  50  minutes  after  the  begin- 
ning of  the  assault — two  German  officers, 
some  non-commissioned  officers,  and  about  100 
men  arrived  as  prisoners  at  the  command 
post  of  the  Tenth  Brigade.  Our  men  were 
wildly  enthusiastic,  and  had  but  one  thought, 
to  push  on  to  their  success.  Before  the  troops 
started  out  on  these  operations  orders  had 
been  issued  in  which  it  was  said :  "  The 
Germans  will  make  every  effort  to  prevent  us 
from  getting  into  Douaumont  Fort.  Con- 
sequently, if  we  do  get  in,  don't  think  that 
you're  going  to  have  a  second  of  rest." 

It  was  certain  that  the  reaction  of  the 
enemy  would  make  itself  felt ;  it  was  of  almost 
unheard-of  violence.  That  night  masses  of 
infantry  collected  east  of  Haudromont  Wood, 
and  towards  ten  o'clock  at  night  a  violent 
bombardment  was  begun  upon  the  French 
positions  west  of  the  fort.  It  was  followed  by  a 
very  vigorous  infantry  attack,  which  forced  us 
to  yield  a  little  of  the  line  we  had  won  in  the 
morning.  In  the  fort,  throughout  the  night, 
the  struggle  turned  to  our  advantage.  We 
kept  all  we  had  got,  and  even  slightly  increased 
our  gains.  At  dawn  the  next  day,  the  23rd, 
our  positions  in  the  fort  were  subjected  to 
an  appalling  bombardment.  Although  the 
trench  organiz  ition  which  had  been  successively 
tumbled  and  turned  by  French  and  German 
artillery  seemed  absolutely  untenable,  the 
129th  Regiment,  in  spite  of  the  losses  which 
had  weakened  its  ranks,  hung  on  to  the  ground 
gained  with  a  tenacity  that  was  perfectly 
extraordinary.  It  was  in  vain  that  the 
enemy  multiplied  his  infantry  attacks  and 
resumed  and  reinforced  his  bombardment. 
He  met  with  an  indomitable  resistance. 
Nowhere  was  there,  any  faltering,  nowhere 
did  the  German  manage  to  get  his  teeth  in  ; 
and  when,  during  the  night  of  the  23rd  and 
the  morning  of  the  24th,  the  10th  Infantry 
Brigade  was  relieved,  it  had  not  lost  an  inch 
of  the  ground  it  had  captured 

Heroic  episodes  in  this  desperate  fight  were 
legion.  All  ought  to  be  quoted,  they  all 
resemble  each  other  ;  and  yet  how  many  will 
remain  unknown  !     There  are  the  Grenadiers, 


LEAVING    A    BALLOON    BY    PARACHUTE, 

The  balloon  had  broken  loose  and  was  drifting   towards    the   enemy's   trenches   during   a   storm.     The 

French  airman  landed  safely  behind   the  French  lines. 

55 


56 


THE     TIMES    HISTORY    OF    THE     WAR. 


who  pushed  forward  into  perilous  positions, 
right  into  the  German  lines,  and  did  great 
killing  before  they  rejoined  their  comrades. 
They  even  went  the  whole  round  of  the  fort, 
throwing  their  grenades,  and  yet  managed  to 
get  back  to  their  regiment.  It  was  good  to  hear 
the  officers  talking  of  their  men.  "  I've  been 
in  twenty-five  campaigns,"  said  a  colonel 
who  commanded  a  brigade  ;  "  I've  never  seen 
anything  finer  than  this  assault.  My  men 
have  really  moved  me  into  a  surprised  admira- 
tion. There  is  nothing  finer  than  our  French 
soldiers.  They  are  better  than  they  were  a 
year  ago,  better  to-day  than  they  were  yester- 
day. They  are  always  surprising.  I  watched 
them  coming  back  from  the  lines,  both  young 
and  old  were  the  same.  There  was  one 
carrying  a  German  helmet,  another  moved 
slowly  but  gloriously  along  upon  a  long  stick  ; 


SCENES    IN    THE    TOWN    OF    VERDUN. 

Buildings    reduced    to    a  heap  of   ruins  by  German 

artillery  fire. 

they  were  all  laden  with  splendid  booty,  they 
were  real  warriors,  and  I  adore  them." 

The  fighting  at  Douaiunont  was  not  only  a 
fine  episode  and  a  glorious  episode  in  the 
history  of  the  French  army  ;  it  contained  a 
lesson  for  the  enemy.  The  lesson  for  the 
Germans  was  that  the  spirit  and  dash  of  the 
French  infantryman  was  still  as  great  as  ever. 
The  enemy,  even  in  operations  in  which  their 
best  troops  were  engaged,  had  been  obliged 
frequently  to  resort  to  close  formation  in  attack. 
The  French  infantry  streamed  out  of  its  trenches 
in  open  order  and  advanced  faultlessly  upon  the 
plateau.  There  was  no  faltering  of  any  sort 
and  the  men  stood  the  strain  of  advance  in  open 
order  with  complete  success.  Once  they  had 
got  inside  the  fort  their  troubles  were  in  some 
respects  only  beginning.  The  garrison  made 
the  most  determined  stand  and  hung  on  to  its 
positions  in  the  north  and  north-east  of  the  fort 
with  grim  tenacity,  waiting  for  the  counter- 
attack to  come  to  their  relief.  They  had  not 
long  to  wait,  and  the  rest  of  the  day  and  the 
following  night  were  filled  with  the  roar  of 
battle  as  fresh  counter-attacks  followed  one 
after  the  other  at  short  intervals.  Fighting  was 
carried  out  right  along  the  Douaumont  front, 
and  the  fort  itself  was  attacked  time  after  time 
by  strong  bodies  of  infantry  who  were  launched 
against  it  from  west,  east  and  north.  The 
efforts  of  the  two  fresh  Bavarian  divisions  were 
finally  triumphant,  and  on  May  24  the  ruins  of 
Douaumont  were  once  again  in  enemy  hands. 

The  whole  Verdun  front  was  now  ablaze,  and 
from   Avocourt   to   Vaux   the   Germans   hurled 


THE    TIMES    HISTORY    OF    THE    WAR. 


57 


regiment  after  regiment  of  new  troops  upon  the 
French  lines  in  a  supreme  endeavour  to  break 
through.  They  re-entered  Douaumont,  as  we 
have  seen,  on  May  24,  and  the  same  day  they 
made  progress  of  greater  significance  on  the  left 
bank  sector  of  the  field  of  battle.  On  May  23 
the  situation  on  the  left  bank  was  extremely 
critical — the  whole  battle  of  Verdun  was 
an  unending  series  of  critical  days.  Here, 
as  upon  the  right  bank,  the  Germans  had  some, 
what  antedated  their  victories.  They  had 
announced  the  capture  of  the  Mort  Homme,  and 
they  had  followed  this  example  by  declaring  that 
Hill  304  was  in  their  hands,  at  a  time  when  from 
a  military  point  of  view  they  were  still  far  from 
undisputed  mastery  of  these  positions.  With 
regard  to  Hill  304,  it  is  clear  that  on  this  day, 
May  23,  the  French  still  held  the  military  crest 
and  the  western  slopes.  It  is  perhaps  necessary 
to  explain  that,  owing  to  the  development  of 
modern  artillery,  hill-crests  in  the  geographical 
sense  of  the  term  possessed  no  military  value 
whatever.  The  tops  of  the  hills  and  ridges  of  the 
Meuse  were  so  pounded  with  high  explosive  as  to 
be  untenable  by  either  side.    What  happened  in 


most  cases  was  that  the  defending  party  held 
on  to  the  military  crest  as  long  as  possible.  This 
military  crest  consisted  of  trench  positions, 
situated  a  few  hundred  feet  below  the  sky-line, 
and  screened  from  direct  artillery  fire  by  the 
geographical  crest  of  the  hill.  In  many  cases 
there  existed  a  complicated  system  of  tunnels 
which  led  right  through  from  behind  the  peak 
to  the  slope  exposed  to  the  observation  of  the 
enemy.  Here  on  this  exposed  surface  artillery 
observation  posts  were  established,  protected 
and  strengthened  by  a  few  machine-guns.  The 
top  of  the  hill  itself  ceased  therefore  to  possess 
any  value.  This  use  of  what  the  French  call 
the  contre-pente  had  first  been  introduced  into 
general  practice  by  the  Germans  in  the  course 
of  the  Champagne  offensive  in  the  autumn  of 
1915.  It  was  indeed  mainly  these  positions 
with  their  large  fields  of  barbed  wire,  which  lay 
hidden  from  direct  artillery  destruction,  which 
held  up  the  French  in  their  onslaught  upon  the 
last  German  lines  in  the  neighbourhood  of 
Tahure. 

The   situation   at   the   Mort   Homme   at   the 
beginning  of  May  may  be  described  roughly  as 


ANOTHER    VIEW    OF    THE    TOWN 
After  the  German  bombardment. 


5a 


THE    TIMES    HISTORY    OF    THE    WAR. 


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follows  :  The  enemy  had  crept  a  short  way  up 
the  northern  face  of  the  ridge,  and  had  formed 
a  salient  in  the  French  positions  established 
upon  the  eastern  and  the  western  slopes  of  the 
hill,  the  summit  of  which  had  been  converted 
into  a  shell-swept  No  Man's  Land,  upon  which 
occasionally  ventured  an  absolutely  essential 
artillery  observation  officer.  On  the  contre- 
pente  French  infantry  were  as  solidly  entrenched 
as  was  possible,  and  in  the  horse-shoe  round  the 
base  of  the  hill  the  French  held  hastily-con- 
structed trench  defences.  The  opening  of  the 
horse-shoe  was  represented  by  the  German 
salient  on  the  northern  side. 

On  the  neighbouring  position  of  Hill  304  the 
state  of  affairs  was  not  exactly  similar.  There 
the  Germans  had  pushed  through  the  stubble 
of  shell-shattered  woods  which  lined  the  base  of 
the  ridge,  and  had  occupied  positions  which 
were  almost  exactly  the  opposite  of  the  relative 
situations  of  the  two  armies  upon  the  Mort 
Homme.  Here  it  was  the  German  Army  which 
had  placed  a  horse -shoe  at  the  base  of  the  hill, 
and  it  was  the  French  from  the  western  slopes 
who  formed  a  salient. 

The  general  plan  of  the  enemy  on  May  23 
was  to  turn  the  whole  Mort  Homme  plateau  by 
cutting  through  the  trench  organizations  which 
linked  it  up  in  the  west  with  Hill  304.  The 
enemy  had  pushed  the  French  down  to  the  base 
of  the  Mort  Homme,  and  endeavoured  to  swing 
themselves  up  to  the  crest  of  Hill  287,  the  next 
eminence  on  the  road  to  Verdun.  At  the  same 
time  the  Germans  endeavoured  to  cut  through 
to  the  east  of  the  Mort  Homme  plateau,  and 
into  the  combined  operations,  which  were 
launched  after  a  bombardment  of  great  fury, 
the  enemy  launched  at  least  two  army  corps. 
Fortunately  the  French  had  in  this  sector  of 
the  front  troops  of  well-tried  valour  ;  the  new 
systems  of  liaison  and  fire  control  were  becoming 
perfected  ;  the  infantry  had  but  to  press  a 
button,  so  to  speak,  to  have  an  almost  instan- 
taneous curtain  fire  from  the  artillery  in  the 
rear. 

It  was  one  of  the  curious  things  of  the  war 
that  for  long  the  unquestioned  changes  wrought 
in  tactics,  and  in  the  use  of  artillery,  had  failed 
to  affect  the  general  organization  of  the  French 
armies.  The  divisions  employed  could  have,  at 
this  stage  of  the  war,  no  general  or  individual 
strategic  mission,  which  is  another  way  of  saying 
that  for  the  divisional  general  the  tactics  had 
almost  entirely  vanished,  or  were  applied  upon  a 
minute  scale  involving  the  capture  of  a  cellar, 


THE    TIMES    HISTORY     OF    THE    WAR. 


59 


-j 


BEHIND    THE    FRENCH    LINES    AT    VEKDUN. 
Reinforcements  leaving  motor  wagons  to  relieve  their  comrades  in  the  trenches. 


or  the  flanking  of  a  ditch,  and  strategy  had 
completely  disappeared.  For  the  army  corps 
this  was  even  more  the  case,  yet,  until  an 
advanced  period  of  the  battle  for  Verdun,  the 
old  almost  watertight  army  organization  had 
remained  intact.  The  general  commanding  a 
division  still  had  under  his  direct  control  the 
same  amount  of  artillery  as  at  the  opening  of 
the  war.  Heavy  artillery  was  almost  entirely 
the  special  property  of  the  army  corps  com- 
manders, to  whom  requests  for  barrage  fire  had 
to  be  addressed  through  time-wasting  and 
circuitous  routes.  General  Petain  was  the  first 
French  army  commander  to  introduce  a  system 
which  was  already  employed  in  both  the  British 
and  German  armies.  He  abolished,  partly  at 
any  rate,  the  iron-bound  system  of  divisions  of 
army  corps,  massed  large  numbers  of  divisions 
together,  and  gave  to  each  of  them  their  pro- 
portionate quota  of  heavy  artillery.  The 
importance  of  this  change  is  quite  evident  when 
it  is  realized  that  in  all  the  later  stages  of  the 
Verdun  battle  the  curtain  fire  was,  in  the 
majority  of  cases,  carried  out  by  heavy  artiller5% 
Curtain  fire,  to  be  effective,  had  to  be  instan- 
taneous. Immediately  the  forward  artillery 
observation  officer  saw  the  enemy's  bombard- 
ment slacken,  and  the  "  war-grey  "  forms  of 
the  enemy  appear  above  the  trench-line,  he  had 
to  telephone  at  once,  or,  as  was  frequently  the 
case  when  telephones  had  ceased  to  work,  to 
signal  with  rockets,  for  an  immediate  curtain 
fire.  The  shell  of  the  75's  had  proved  itself 
quite  unable  to  stop  the  massed  rushes  of  the 
enemy,  and  unless  what  at  the  beginning  of 
Verdun  was  the  Corps  Artillery,  that  is  to  say 
the  heavy  guns,  could  pour  its  thousands  of 
pounds  of  melinite  upon  the  advancing  waves, 
the  attack  was  almost  certain  to  succeed. 


It  was  through  a  curtain  fire  of  this  tremen- 
dous density  that  the  German  infantry  advanced 
on  the  left  bank  front  on  May  23.  The  scene 
was  described  by  one  of  the  band  of  American 
airmen  who  did  such  excellent  work  in.  the 
Verdun  sector,  in  words  which  conjure  up,  as 
do  all  the  aerial  photographs,  and  particularly 
those  of  the  assault  upon  Douaumont,  a  battle 
picture  painted  in  completely  novel  perspective. 
This  airman  had  been  sent  out  as  artillery 
observation  officer  at  the  beginning  of  the 
German  assaults  in  the  Mort  Homme  region. 
His  mission,  he  declared,  was  absolutely  fruit- 
less. Although  he  flew  at  an  extremely  low 
altitude,  only  some  few  hundred  feet  above  the 
earth,  nothing  whatever  could  be  seen,  except 
a  tremendous  pillar  of  smoke  ;  the  ground  itself 
was  completely  hidden  from  his  eyes.  There 
was  not  even  a  flash.  A  column  of  smoke 
600  feet  high  covered  the  whole  position.  In 
this  smoky  inferno  wave  after  wave  of  Ger- 
mans fell  blasted  to  pieces  by  high  explosives, 
or  were  dropped  in  their  rush  by  the  savage 
chattering  machine  guns.  On  the  east  of  the 
Mort  Homme  the  enemy  was  unable  to  get 
through  the  horrible  zone  thus  formed,  and  his 
dead  lay  in  patches  in  the  shell  area,  and  in  long 
swathes  where  the  machine  guns  had  mown 
them  down. 

Between  Hill  304  and  thb  Mort  Homme, 
however,  greater  progress  was  made.  For  a 
time  here  too  the  enemy  spent  himself  in  un- 
availing dashes  at  the  curtain  of  bursting  shell  ; 
but,  as  there  were  ever  more  and  more  men 
pressing  forward  to  take  the  places  of  those  who 
fell,  towards  the  close  of  the  day  the  Germans 
managed  to  sweep  through  the  danger  zone, 
and  to  install  themselves  close  enough  to  the 
first  trench  lines  to  render  the  use  of  French 


60 


THE     TIMES    HISTORY    OF    THE    WAR. 


FRENCH    TROOPS    CHARGING    ENEMY'S    TRENCHES 
With    fixed   bayonets,  and  led   by  a  bomb-thrower. 


high  explosive  impossible,  without  there  being 
a  certainty  of  killing  as  many  French  as 
Germans.  Here  for  a  time  the  enemy  hung  on, 
and  meanwhile  the  special  detachment  cf 
flame-fighters  who  had  just  arrived  in  this 
region  were  sent  forward.  There  is  no  mask 
against  fire,  and  with  their  diabolical  flame- 
throwers the  Germans  succeeded  in  burning  the 
French  out  of  their  first  lines.  Before  nightfall 
the  French  came  back  at  them  again — it  was 
one  of  the  constantly  hopeful  features  of  the 
Verdun  fighting  that  at  no  period  did  the  French 
infantry  fail  to  react — and  after  half  an  hour's 
fighting  the  Germans  had  been  driven  out  of 
the  ground  they  had  purchased  at  so  high  a  cost, 


and  were  filtering  in  isolated  disorder  back  to 
the  trenches  from  which  they  had  begun  the 
attack. 

Dastardly  and  despicable  though  German 
methods  of  fighting  were,  it  would  be  foolish 
to  deny  that  in  the  whole  effort  they  made 
against  Verdun  their  men  displayed  the 
most  formidable  doggedness.  Time  after  time 
they  stormed  to  the  assault  of  the  most  for- 
bidding positions,  over  the  corpses  of  hundreds 
who  had  failed  before  them  ;  time  after  time 
regiments  which  had  reeled  and  melted  beneath 
the  deadly  sputtering  of  mitrailleuses  formed 
up  again,  and  again  returned  to  obvious  de- 
struction.    The  French   were  not   long  left   in 


THE    TIMES    HISTORY    OF    THE    WAR. 


61 


ENTRANCE    TO 

French  troops  in  a  vi 

possession  of  their  recaptured  line,  but  had, 
before  night  fell,  to  withstand  again  the  counter- 
attacks of  the  enemy.  This  night  effort  was 
most  pronounced  to  the  west  of  the  Mort 
Homme,  a  section  of  the  front  which  had  seen 
some  of  the  most  desperate  fighting  in  the 
whole  history  of  the  battle.  The  Caurettes 
"Wood  and  Cumieres  Wood,  which  formed  the 
first  cover  of  Cumieres  village,  had,  as  lias 
been  related  in  earlier  chapters,  been  the  scene 
of  desperate  and  bloody  fighting.  They  had 
been  captured  and  recaptured  several  times,  and 
when  this  climax  was  reached,  the  French  were 
stiJl  hanging  on  by  the  skin  of  their  teeth  to  a 
portion  of  these  woods.     The  day  attacks  had 


A    DUG-OUT. 

llage  near  Verdun. 

failed  to  get  home  ;  at  night  the  sluice-gates  of 
Germany  were  open,  and  horde  after  horde  of 
infantry  rolled  down  in  the  effort  to  force  a 
passage  to  the  east  of  the  Mort  Homme — down 
the  valley  of  the  Meuse  itself. 

In  spite  of  the  explanations  furnished  by  the 
German  General  Staff  there  can  be.  no  question 
whatever  that  this  great  drive  was  intended  to 
bring  the  Germans  into  position  from  which 
they  could  begin  the  direct  attack  upon  the 
main  defences  of  Verdun  on  the  left  bank. 
It  is  to  be  noted  that  in  this  area  of  the  front 
the  Germans  were  still  battling  with  the  advance 
work  defending  the  Meuse  capital.  They  had 
not  here  even  reached  the  same  point  on  May  22 


62 


THE    TIMES    HISTOBY    OF    THE    WAB. 


as  they  had  attained  on  February  20  on  the 
right  bank  by  the  capture  of  Douaumont. 
The  French  still  had  to  protect  their  whole 
Verdun  salient,  the  formidable  line  of  wooded 
hill  and  dale  constituted  by  the  fort  of  Bras, 
Bourrus  Wood,  and  the  Esnes  position.  It  was 
to  the  piercing  of  this  second  line  of  defence 
that  the  great  attacks  of  May  23  were  devoted. 
An  was  frequently  the  case  in  the  long 
battle,  the  enemy  very  nearly  succeeded.  He 
felt  the  cup  between  his  lips,  but  could  not 
drink.  During  the  night  of  May  23-24,  profiting 
by  his  gains  on  Hill  304  and  the  Mort  Homme, 
which,  although  slight  in  measurement,  were 
capable  of  great  strategic  profit,  he  pushed 
forward  upon  the  second  line  of  Verdun 
defences.  Once  again  troops  which  had  hitherto 
been  spared  the  horrors  of  Verdun  were 
gathered  in  strength  upon  the  restricted  front 


TRENCH  IN  THE  MEUSE 
SECTOR. 
Showing  the  method  of  construction,  and  the 
white  lines  of  the  communication  trenches  in  the 
distance.  Smaller  picture :  Poste  de  Comman- 
dant at  a  French  Brigade  Headquarters  near 
Douaumont. 

of  the  Mort  Homme  and  the  country  west  of 
it  as  far  as  the  Meuse.  The  village  of  Cumi-res 
was  the  immediate  objective  of  this  resumed 
attempt.  It  had  long  before  been  ruined,  laying 
as  it  did  in  the  valley  at  the  extreme  western 
point  of  the  great  loop  formed  by  the  Meuse 
between  Samogneux  and  Bras,  its  strategic 
value  was  doubtful.  The  whole  place  was 
covered  with  shells,  and  reduced  by  the  most 
elementary  and,  be  it  added,  effective  methods 
of  warfare.  After  every  few  hours  of  bombard- 
ment waves  of  infantry  were  sent  up  to  it. 
When  they  returned,  broken  and  depleted 
under  the  fire  of  undestroyed  machine  gims, 
the  big  guns  again  took  up  the  story.  By  this 
alternate  battery  and  assault  the  Germans  on 
May  24  smashed  the  line,  drove  the  French 
right  out  of  the  village  of  Cumteres,  and, 
profiting  by  their  disorder  and  disarray,  pushed 
their  infantry  right  down  to  the  neighbourhood 
of  Chattancourt  railway  station. 

Once  again  the  French  automatic  counter- 
attack, at  any  rate  partly,  re-established  a 
balance.  The  infantry  went  at  the  advancing 
Gennans  with  all  their  old  dash  and  bite,  and 
drove  them  back  into  Cumieres  village,  where, 
throughout  the  night  of  the  24th,  they  held  out 
in  trenches  on  the  southern  outskirts  of  the 
ruins.  This  hold  enabled  them  to  start 
methodical  operations  for  the  recapture  of 
the  rubble  heap.  Getting  into  the  bushes  and 
tree  trunks  east  of  the  village,  bombing  parties 
made  good  progress  during  the  next  few  days, 
while  the  enemy  was  having  an  all  too  brief 
breathing  space.  While  the  infantry  were 
at    work    in    the    east,    the    artilleryman    was 


THE    TIMES    HISTORY    OF    THE    WAR. 


03 


pounding  the  German  positions  in  the  village 
and  to  the  north-west  of  it.  On  May  27  the 
progress  made  by  these  two  arms  was  deemed 
sufficient  and  the  two  assaulting  columns, 
which  had  been  brought  \ip  east  and  west  of 
the  village,  were  launched  at  sundown.  On 
both  flanks  progress  was  made.  The  great 
landmark  of  Cumieres,  the  mill,  was  carried 
by  the  eastern  column,  and  at  dusk  the  French 
were  engaged  in  the  especially  desperate 
business  of  cellar  fighting,  in  the  attempt  to 
strengthen  their  hold  upon  the  village. 

The  western  column  made  sufficient  progress 
to  cause  the  Germans  to  fear  that  the  whole 
village  would  be  surrounded,  and  vigorous 
counter-attacks  to  the  strength  of  a  brigade 
and  a  half  were  launched  upon  this  one  point. 
It  is  interesting  to  note,  at  this  stage  in  the 
battle,  what  tremendous  effort  in  effectives 
had  been  demanded  from  the  Germans.  It  is 
also  interesting  to  note  the  first  definite  instance 
of  large  co-ordination  between  the  western 
Allies,  which  is  to  be  found  in  the  relief  of  the 
French  Tenth  Army  by  British  forces. 

The  Germans  at  this  stage  of  the  battle 
began  a  great  artillery  demonstration  in  Alsace 
and  elsewhere  along  the  front,  with  a  view  to 
preventing  the  free  handling  by  the  French  of 
their  reserves.  The  Paris  Correspondent  of  The 
Times,  commenting  upon  this  on  May  28,  said  : 


The  French,  it  would  be  puerile  to  deny,  have  paid, 
and  are  paying,  the  price  which  their  heroic  resistance 
at  Verdun  demands.  Their  losses  during  the  last  week's 
fighting  have  probably  been  proportionately  greater 
than  at  any  other  time  throughout  the  Verdun  fighting. 
It  would,  nevertheless,  be  folly  to  imagine  that  the  bulk 
of  the  French  general  reserves  has  been  flung  into  battle. 
The  relief  given  by  the  British  in  taking  over  the  front 
of  the  French  10th  Army,  liberating  it  for  service  else- 
where, is  an  indication  of  the  method  by  which  the 
Allied  effectives  in  >  the  West  are  constantly  growing 
and  the  heavy  losses  at  Verdun  constantly  being  made 
good. 

The  fact  that  the  enemy,  for  the  continuance  of  his 
tremendous  drive  upon  the  Verdun  bulwarks,  has  been 
forced  to  scratch  together  fresh  divisions  from  Russia, 
from  the  Balkans,  and  from  the  northern  front,  is  the 


A    FRENCH    TRENCH    IN    A    STREET    IN    CUMIERES. 
Smaller  picture :  A  trench  and  barricade. 


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THE    TIMES    HISTORY    OP    THE    WAR. 


65 


best  evidence  of  die  price  which  the  Trench  are  exacting 
for  every  yard  of  advance  made  by  the  Germans  towards 
the  eastern  gate.  Some  indication  of  that  price  is  con  - 
tained  in  the  Echo  de  Paris  in  a  telegram  from  the 
Verdun  front.     The  writer  of  this  dispatch  says  : 

"  It  is  proved  that  from  May  20  to  May  25  seven 
different  divisions  were  flung  into  the  battle  on  both 
sides  of  the  Meuse.  Four  of  these  were  brought  from 
other  points  of  the  Western  front — two  from  Flande'rs, 
two  from  the  Somme. 

"  On  the  left  bank  alone  four  divisions  were  employed 
in  the  last  week-end  fighting.  Without  a  thought  of 
the  enormous  losses  caused  by  our  curtain  fire  and 
machine  guns,  the  German  Command  threw  them  one 
after  the  other  into  the  boiling  pot  east  and  west  of  Mort 
Homme.  On  May  22  alone,  before  the  capture  of 
Cumieres  village,  which  has  now  been  retaken,  the  enemy 
made  no  fewer  than  16  attacks  upon  the  front  from  the 
Avocourt  Wood  to  the  Meuse.  Over  50,000  men  sought 
that  day  to  climb  the  slopes  of  Mort  Homme  and  the 
plateau  of  Hill  304.  The  great  charnel  heap  had  15,000 
fresh  corpses  flung  upon  it  without  the  French  lines 
having  yielded." 

All  estimates  of  losses  must  naturally,  at  the  present 
moment,  remain  estimates,  but,  according  to  all  the 
information  available,  it  seems  to  be  established  beyond 
question  that  there  is  a  great  disproportion  between  the 
losses  of  the  French  and  Germans.  The  battle  of  Verdun 
throughout  its  development  seems,  indeed,  to  have 
shown  that  the  French  have  reached  a  watershed  of 
victory.  In  other  words,  that  their  artillery  equipment 
and  shell  consumption  have  almost,  if  not  entirely, 
reached  a  point  of  equality  with  that  of  the  Germans. 
Under  the  conditions  of  modern  warfare  it  is  inevitable, 
with  such  equality  of  armament,  and  with,  at  the  very 
least,  equality  of  moral  between  opposing  men,  that 
the  attackers  should  suffer  more  heavily  in  the  casualty 
lists. 

There  is  good  ground  for  the  belief  that  in  the  first 
six  weeks  of  the  Verdun  battle  the  Germans  were  losing 
very  nearly  three  to  one. 

Losses  seemed,  however,  to  be  of  no  import- 
ance whatever  to  the  enemy  in  the  pursuit  of 
his  aim.  The  hundredth  day  of  the  battle  of 
Verdun  was  marked  by  a  tremendous  upward 
swoop  of  the  curve  of  bloodshed,  by  another 
and  even  more  vehement  blow,  delivered  no 
doubt  with  a  full  and  considered  apprecia- 
tion of  military  requirements,  but  aimed  also 
at  affecting  the  course  of  internal  affairs  in 
France.  The  agitation,  briefly  summarized 
at  the  beginning  of  this  chapter,  for  a  full  and 
free  discussion  of  the  conditions  of  defence  at 
Verdun,  was  taking  a  more  and  more  alarming 
shape. 

This  great  blow  at  the  military  might  and 
civilian  moral  of  France  was  begun  on  May  28. 
The  Sunday  was  passed  in  what  in  Verdun 
constituted  quiet — that  is  to  say,  the  whole 
countryside  shook  and  trembled  under  the  fire 
of  thousands  of  guns.  In  the  evening  the 
German  infantry  moved  out  of  Crows'  Wood 
and  delivered  an  assault  upon  the  French 
trenches  betweerf  the  Mort  Homme  and 
Cumieres.  This  effort  was  shattered  beneath 
French  curtain  fire,  and  it  was  not  until  mid- 


BEFORE    VERDUN. 

The  German  Crown   Prince  with  his 

Chief  of  Staff. 

night  that  the  enemy  again  got  going.  But 
this  second  attempt  met  with  no  greater  success. 
The  casualties  sustained  in  this  fighting  had 
clearly  shown  the  Germans  that,  intense  though 
their  bombardment  had  been,  it  had  not  been 
heavy  enough  to  obliterate  the  French  defence. 
The  artillery  once  more  took  up  the  story,  and 
for  some  12  hours  over  60  heavy  batteries  of 
enemy  artillery  poured  shell  upon  the  Avocourt- 
Mort  Homme-Cumieres  line.  At  three  in  the 
afternoon  the  next  assault  was  launched.  In 
these  attacks  no  less  than  five  fresh  divisions 
took  part.  Two  had  been  drawn  from  the 
front  of  the  Sixth  Army,  while  the  main  reserve 
of  the  German  Army  in  the  West  at  Cambrai  had 
been  called  upon  to  furnish  the  other  two.  To 
give  these  fresh  troops  backing  and  aid  in  the 
tremendous  task  which  lay  before  them,  the 
greatest  concentration  of  artillery  seen  up  till 
then  on  the  Western  front  was  carried  out  with 
speed  and  secrecy.  Each  hour  of  battle  saw  the 
establishment  of  a  fresh  record  in  shell  eon- 
sumption.  There  had  been  nothing  like  it  in 
the  world's  history,  and  nothing  which  even  the 
most  imaginative  writers  of  war  fiction  had  said 
in  forecasting  the  conditions  of  modern  war  in 
any  way  approached  the  storm  of  horror  un- 
loosed in  this  stage  of  the  great  struggle  for 
Verdun.     The    German    attacks,    broken    and 


66 


THE     TIMES    HISTORY    OF    THE    WAR. 


shattered  as  they  were  by  constant  curtain  fire, 
were  repeated  with  tremendous  rapidity  along 
the  front.  It  was,  as  one  officer  put  it,  as 
though  the  whole  German  Army  had  been  con- 
verted into  a  machine-gun,  and  was  delivering 
a  series  rf  blows  in  which  each  bullet  of  the 
machine-gun  was  represented  by  a  regiment. 

The  enemy's  losses  were  gigantic,  and  at  one 
time  it  seemed  as  though  success  might  have 
been  within  his  grasp,  but  the  toll  taken  of  the 
Germans  as  they  advanced  in  wave  after  wave 
upon  the  French  positions  was  too  great  for  any 
army  to  withstand  the  drain.  The  objective  of 
all  this  fighting  was  the  reduction  of  the  salient 
formed  by  the  French  lines  in  the  Mort  Homme- 
Cumieres  section  of  the  front  ;  the  results 
obtained  were  scanty.  The  big  blow  of  their 
guns  was  delivered  upon  the  French  centre,  and 
right  along  this  portion  of  the  battlefield  the 
French  first-line  trenches  were  obliterated.  But 
what  the  artillery  had  shattered  the  German 
infantry  was  unable  to  seize.  The  enemy  found 
himself  much  in  the  position  of  a  man,  anxious 
to  increase  his  bag,  who  has  brought  down  his 
bird,  but  whose  retriever  is  quite  unable  to 
bring  it  back.  At  the  end  of  this  stage  of  the 
fighting  the  French  positions  on  the  Mort 
Homme  had  been  greatly  weakened,  but  they 
still  were  holding  out  in  trenches  to  the  east, 
south  and  west.  The  village  of  Cumieres  had 
been  captured,  but  there  also  none  of  the 
expected  fruit  of  the  German  victory  had  been 
gathered.  The  attempt  to  storm  through  and 
begin  the  direct  attack  upon  the  great  second 
line  of  the  left  bank  defences  of  Verdun  had 
failed,  and  in  spite  of  the  strenuous  and  constant 
striving  ot  the  enemy  to  accomplish  his  object 
in  the  month  of  June,  he  was  still  occupjang  the 
positions  on  the  Mort  Homme,  was  still  fighting 
for  Hill  304,  was  still  far  from  the  Bourrus- 
Esnes  line  of  positions  when  the  joint  Anglo- 
French  offensive  in  the  Somme  burst  with  its 
fury  on  July  1. 

It  cannot  be  definitely  stated  whether  the 
next  move  of  the  enemy  was  due  to  the  recog- 
nition of  his  failure  on  the  left  bank,  or  whether 
it  was  due  to  an  almost  incredible  exaggeration 
of  the  effects  of  the  small  success  achieved. 
The  main  cause  of  the  left  bank  operations  was 
that  operations  on  the  right  bank  in  the  neigh- 
bourhood of  Douaumont  had  been  impeded  by 
the  enfilading  fire  of  the  French  batteries  posted 
farther  north  upon  the  left  bank.  The  Mort 
Homme  position  had  proved  to  be  particularly 


disturbing.  It  may  be  that  with  the  practical 
reduction  of  this  bastion  the  Germans  felt  that 
they  could  afford  to  concentrate  once  more  upon 
the  northern  front  of  Verdun,  and  once  again 
attempt  to  pierce  straight  through  to  the  city. 
The  Paris  Correspondent  of  The  Times,  tele- 
graphing on  June  1,  was  able  to  report  that  "  so 
far  the  German  blows  have  only  dented  the 
French  defence,  and  there  seems  no  reason  to 
suppose  that  the  enemy  will  ever  succeed  in 
driving  right  through  it."  Telegraphing  earlier 
in  the  day  the  same  correspondent  said  :  "  On 
the  right  bank  the  bombardment,  which  has 
become  almost  chronic,  was  continued  yesterday 
along  the  whole  front  from  the  Meuse  to  Vaux. 
.  .  .  During  the  night  the  bombardment  both 
east  and  west  of  Fort  Douaumont  attained  an 
intensity  which  can  only  precede  great  infantry 
operations  on  one  side  or  the  other." 

Such  indeed  was  the  case.  The  French  first 
and  second  lines  during  26  hours  had  been 
subjected  to  a  constant  bombardment,  of  a 
violence  seldom  seen  even  in  the  course  of  this 
battle.  All  the  heavy  quick-firing  batteries  at 
the  disposal  of  the  enemy  had  been  drawn  up, 
and  had  made  it  impossible  for  the  French 
supply  and  ammunition  columns  to  furnish 
their  front  lines.  The  storm  was  a  prelude 
to  a  long  and  desperate  struggle  for  the  Fort  of 
Vaux,  the  capture  of  which  had  been  announced 
by  the'  Germans  three  months  previously,  when 
they  had  succeeded  in  getting  a  footing  on  the 
northern  slopes  of  the  ridge.  The  two  great 
efforts  of  the  enemy  against  this  position  in 
March  and  in  April  had  been  very  costly,  and 
in  no  way  successful.  Throughout  those  two 
months  they  had  been  constantly  pushing  in 
small  local  attacks,  which  were  equally  un- 
availing. The  June  fighting,  which  lasted  for 
a  week,  gave  them  the  position,  but  to  take  it 
they  poured  out  men  in  a  profusion  unequalled 
in  any  attack  of  so  small  a  front. 

After  the  fall  of  Douaumont,  Vaux  had  taken 
up  the  duties  of  that  position,  and  had  become 
the  advanced  bastion  of  the  big  Souville  fort  to 
the  south-west.  Its  fire  swept  the  ravine 
through  which  the  ground  rose  from  the  Woevre 
plain  to  Souville.  The  line  of  attack,  as  in  the 
case  of  the  Mort  Homme,  was  from  the  north- 
east and  north-west,  through  the  Fumin  Wood 
and  Caillettes  Wood.  On  June  1  the  enemy, 
advancing  from  the  north-west,  captured  the 
Caillettes  spur,  and  advanced  through  Vaux 
village,  and  on  the  following  day  began  the 
direct  assault  upon  the  fort. 


THE    TIMES    HISTORY    OF    THE    WAR. 


G7 


RUINS    OF    VAUX    FORT. 

After  seven  days'  desperate  fighting  against  assaulting  troops  the  enemy  occupied  the  work,  which 

had  been  completely  ruined  by  furious  bombardment. 


An  official  account  of  the  figfcting  round  Vaux 
said  :  "  It  is  impossible  to  retrace  in  detail 
the  movements  of  such  fighting.  A  modern 
battle  is  too  fragmentary  and  too  complicated 


for  even  approximate  reconstitution  to  be 
possible.  Nevertheless  among  the  episodes 
there  are  some  which  give  a  good  idea  of  the 
nature  of  the  whole  fighting.     Among  these   is 


(is 


THE     TIMES    HISTORY    OF    THE     WAR. 


the  defence  of  Trench  R.I.  by  the  101st  Infantry 
Regiment.  R.I.  was  a  small  trench  north-west 
of  Yaux  fort,  about  halfway  between  the  fort 
and  the  village.  In  front  of  it,  about  40 
yards  away,  the  Germans  were  entrenched,  and 
they  also  occupied  positions  to  the  right  and 
left.  It  was  a  difficult  spot,  but  it  had  to  be 
held,  as  it  interfered  with  the  plan  of  encircling 
the  fort,  which  the  enemy  had  been  trying  to 
carry  through  for  many  weeks.  In  this  part  of 
the  country,  where  280  mm.  shells  were  flung 
in  packets  of  10,  everything  was  topsyturvy, 
all  trenches  were  level,  and  there  was  not  a 
shelter  or  dugout  which  offered  security  against 
the  artillery,  which  was  firing  with  such 
intensity  as  to  prevent  all  work  of  repair. 

On  June  1  at  eight  o'clock  in  the  morning, 
after  a  short  struggle,  the  Germans  managed  to 
carr3'  a  small  length  of  French  trench,  -which 
jutted  out  west  of  R.I.  They  were  then  seen 
advancing  in  single  file  along  the  lake,  trying  to 
filter  through  towards  the  slopes  of  Fumin 
Wood.  Two  French  machine  guns  at  once 
stopped  their  progress.  R.I.  was  not  attacked  ; 
there  was  nothing  but  an  exchange  of  shots  and 
grenades  v/ith  the  trench  opposite.  The 
bombardment  continued  throughout  the  night. 
Food  and  drink  could  not  get  up  to  the  trench, 
where  the  men  were  beginning  to  suffer  from 
thirst.  No  one  complained  about  it.  Each 
man  had  an  ample  provision  of  grenades  by  his 
side,  and  packing  cases  full  of  them  were  dotted 
about  close  up  to  the  trench.  At  5.30  in  the 
evening  the  rain  of  105  and  130  shells  was 
tropical.  At  eight  o'clock  the  enemy  left  their 
trench  and  advanced  on  R.I.  They  were  met 
with  a  hail  of  grenades,  and  streamed  back  to 
their  trench  in  disorder.  The  order  was  given 
to  send  up  a  rocket  asking  our  artillery  to  throw 


out  a  curtain  fire  in  front  of  R.I.  By  bad  luck, 
before  the  rocket  was  got  off,  it  burst  and  set 
fire  to  all  the  stock  of  rockets.  Fire  and  smoke 
tilled  the  trench,  and  red  and  green  flames  rose 
above  it.  Those  at  a  distance  could  not  under- 
stand what  had  happened,  and  wondered  whether 
the  enemy  was  attacking  with  liquid  fire,  or  had 
turned  the  French  position.  In  the  trencli 
everyone  was  calm,  officers  and  men  joining  in 
the  work  of  placing  the  stock  of  grenades  out  of 
danger.  At  10  o'clock  the  fire  was  mastered, 
emd  at  the  same  time,  a  reward  arrived  ;  1  (i 
pints  of  water  were  brought  through  from  Fumin 
Wood,  and  divided  immediately — one  mouthful 
to  each  man. 

There  was  a  pause  until  half -past  two  on  the 
morning  of  June  3,  when  the  enemy  again 
attacked.  "This  time,"  said  the  captain  who 
commanded  the  trench,  "  we  must  be  more 
patient.  Last  time  we  were  too  quick."  The 
enemy  were  allowed  to  come  within  about 
15  paces,  before  they  were  struck  down  by 
grenades  and  rifle  fire.  One  German,  who  had 
got  up  to  within  three  yards  of  the  trench, 
received  a  grenade  right  in  his  face,  and  fell 
on  the  parapet.  The  officers  were  throwing 
bombs  with  as  much  zest  as  their  men.  By  a 
last  effort  the  Germans  were  beaten  back,  and 
at  half -past  three  all  was  over. 

The  trench,  however,  was  still  isolated  by  the 
enemy's  curtain  fire,  and  the  men  suffered  more 
from  thirst  than  from  the  enemy.  Luckily  it 
began  to  rain.  Canvas  was  spread  out,  and 
in  other  receptacles  water  was  gathered. 
Throughout  the  day  the  bombardment  con- 
tinued, and  the  Germans,  who  had  succeeded  in 
advancing  in  the  trenches  on  the  right  and  on 
the  slopes  of  the  fort,  got  a  machine  gun  into 
position,  and  opened  enfilading  fire  upon  R.I. 


FRENCH    GUNS    IN    THE    ENVIRONS    OF    VERDUN. 


THE    TIMES    HISTORY    OF    THE     WAR. 


69 


WAITING    TILL    THE    SHELLS    HAVE    CLEARED    THE    WAY. 

French  troops  in  a  trench  getting  ready  to  advance. 


Another  machine  gun  in  Fumin  Wood  swept  the 
left  of  the  trench.  After  a  further  burst  of 
bombardment,  between  1.30  and  7.30,  German 
waves  again  rolled  up  to  the  French  line,  and 
were  again  thrown  back.  The  night  was  passed 
under  intense  bombardment,  and  at  three 
o'clock  in  the  morning  the.  enemy  again  came 
on ;     but   the   French   had   acquired  complete 


confidence  in  their  grenades  during  the  three 
days'  fighting,  and  gave  them  a  warm  reception. 
By  dawn  the  Germans  had  once  more  been 
repulsed.  The  first  light  of  day  lit  up  an  extra- 
ordinary picture  in  the  French  trend).  Every 
stone  was  splashed  with  blood  ;  the  ground  was 
littered  with  all  kinds  of  debris,  shell  splinters, 
and  more  ghastly  evidences  of  battle.     For  24 


70 


THE    TIMES    HISTORY    OF    THE    WAR. 


JPM" 

I                                ^^1 

I^H^^B^^H^Bsti             igg  ^^^^a 

^ 

A    FRENCH    CANNON 
Gun  of  155  mm.   (6  in.)  calibre  which  did 

more  hours  the  bombardment  continued,  but 
the  enemy  was  mastered,  and  at  nine  o'clock 
on  June  5  the  gallant  garrison  of  the  trench 
was  relieved.  The  Colonel  of  the  101st,  in 
reporting  to  the  General  commanding  the  124th 
Division,  during  the  thick  of  the  fight,  had  said  : 
"  \Vre  are  fighting  to  the  end.  Both  men  and 
officers,  who  have  shown  the  most  splendid 
devotion  and  self-sacrifice  beyond  praise,  are 
determined  to  fall  to  a  man  in  the  defence  of 
their  trench." 

While  both  east  and  west  of  the  fort  fighting 
of  this  nature  was  going  on  all  along  the  line, 
the  attack  upon  the  fort  itself  was  developing. 
The  Germans  knew  that  it  was  beyond  their 
strength  to  carry  the  fort  by  direct  assault. 
They  had  got  a  footing  on  the  slopes  in  March, 
and    although    they    had    done    their    utmost 


DATING    FROM    1881. 
excellent  duty  in  the  defence  of  Verdun. 

they  had  been  unable  to  progress.  In  the 
weeks  which  followed  they  endeavoured  to 
invest  the  position.  Their  infantry  held  the 
north  and  pushed  down  east  and  west,  but 
their  constant  efforts  to  close  the  circle  in  the 
south  had  failed.  Their  artillery  accomplished 
what  their  infantry  had  been  unable  to  effect. 
The  whole  southern  slope  of  Vaux  was  covered 
with  a  curtain  fire  of  heavy  shell,  which  formed 
a  wall  of  steel  and  high  explosive  and  com- 
pleted the  encircling  of  the  fort. 

It  was  estimated  that  since  March  the 
Germans  had  flung  no  less  than  8,000  heavy 
shells  a  day  on  to  this  position.  During  the 
latter  days  of  the  defence  of  Vaux  this  figure 
had  greatly  grown.  The  fort  itself  was  torn 
and  twisted  by  explosion.  The  usual  entrance 
was  completely  blocked  up,  and  for  long  the 


THE    TIMER    HISTORY    OF    THE    WAR. 


71 


IN    A    VILLAGE    NORTH-WEST    OF    VERDUN. 
German  shell  exploding  and  destroying  a  small  station  in  the  line  of  fire. 


only  way  into  the  fort  was  through  a  wicket 
in  the  north-western  corner.  It  was  through 
this  gate  that,  in  spite  of  tremendous  difficulties, 
communications  had  been  maintained  and 
supplies  kept  up. 

Mr.  Warner  Allen,  the  special  representative 
of  the  British  Press,  in  an  account  based  upon 
official  information,  wrote  : 

The  fort  itself  was  completely  demolished  by  the 
explosion.  In  this  hell-hole  a  little  garrison  under 
Major  Raynal  continued  to  resist. 

Around  the  fort  all  work  was  impossible.  Trenches 
were  demolished  while  they  were  being  dug.  A  man 
had  to  wait  for  hours  and  choose  his  moment  if  he  was 
to  have  the  slightest  chance  of  passing.  On  June  1  the 
enemy  began  a  terrific  attack.  Under  the  violence  of 
their  fire  certain  elements  of  the  French  advanced  line 
retired.  A  few  men,  slightly  wounded,  seeking  for  some 
shelter  against  the  rain  of  shell,  made  their  way  into  the 
ruins  of  the  fort,  and  were  an  embarrassment  to  the 
garrison  rather  than  a  reinforcement. 

The  next  day  the  German  advance  made  it  impossible 


to  use  the  north-western  postern.  Henceforth  the  fort 
was  deprived  of  the  only  communication  with  the  French 
lines.  Since  it  was  impossible  for  dispatch  bearers  to 
get  through  an  attempt  was  made  to  communicate  by 
signals.  Signallers  were  posted  at  a  window  to  com- 
municate with  other  signallers  just  over  a  mile  away. 
But  the  scheme  did  not  work  satisfactorily — Vaux  could 
not  see  the  signals  distinctly.  A  volunteer  came  forward 
to  carry  the  news  through  the  zone  of  death.  He 
managed  to  escape  the  German  fire,  though  not  a 
movement  passed  undetected  by  the  Germans.  The 
signaller's  position  was  changed,  and  he  returned  to 
his  post  in  the  fort,  his  object  accomplished.  A  young 
officer  named  Bessett  succeeded  in  leaving  the  fort  with 
a  report,  and  then  went  back  to  encourage  his  comrades, 
whom  he  refused  to  desert. 

A  private  in  the  124th  Division,  Stretcher-bearer 
Vanier,  worked  untiringly  with  the  wounded,  hiding 
them  among  the  ruins,  and  bandaging  their  wounds. 
When  he  had  no  wounded  to  tend  he  went  out  to  fetch 
water,  for  water  was  the  most  serious  problem  of  all. 

Throughout  the  battle  of  Verdun  thirst  has  been  one 
of  the  most  terrible  trials  to  which  the  soldiers  have 
been  submitted.  Letters  captured  on  German  prisoners 
continually  refer  to  it.     Troops  were  entirely  isolated 


THE    TIMES    HISTORY    OF    THE    WAR. 


73 


by  curtains  of  shell  fire  on  a  narrow  front,  making  all 
movement  impossible.  Darkness  was  the  only  pro- 
tection ;  but  in  June  the  nights  are  short,  and  star- 
shells  were  continually  blazing. 

Isolated  men  succeeded  in  passing,  but  at  terrible 
risk,  with  a  tiny  supply  of  water.  But  the  task  of 
providing  150  men  with  water,  to  say  nothing  of  400 
more  who  had  taken  refuge  in  the  fort,  was  beyond 
human  power.  From  outside  attempts  were  made  to 
send  water  into  the  fort,  but  not  one  was  successful. 
Yet  the  fort  was  held,  and  held  for  four  days  more. 

The  enemy  advanced  on  the  higher  ground,  but  the 
French  organized  the  ruins  of  the  buildings  inside  the 
fort.  At  every  window,  at  every  opening,  behind  the 
dibris  of  a  wall  machine-guns  were  placed,  picked  shots 
took  refuge,  and  every  German  who  reached  the  court- 
yard of  the  fort  was  shot  down.  Barricades  were  raised 
at  every  corner,  and  piles  of  German  corpses  lay  before 
them. 

The  Germans  tried  the  experiment  of  letting  down 
at  the  end  of  a  cord  baskets  full  of  grenades,  and,  when 
these  baskets  were  on  a  level  with  the  windows  held  by 
the  French,  they  dropped  into  them  a  grenade  with  a 
time-fuse  and  swung  them  in  through  the  opening  to 
explode  inside.     But  still  the  garrison  fought  on. 

There  is,  however,  a  limit  to  human  endurance.  The 
last  message  sent  by  Major  Raynal  ran  as  follows  : 

We  are  near  the  end.  Officers  and  soldiers  have 
done  their  whole  duty.  Vive  la  France  ! 
June  6  was  the  final  day.  In  the  morning  Vanier, 
with  a  few  wounded  who  were  determined  not  to  be 
taken  alive,  escaped  through  a  grating.  They  crawled 
towards  the  French  lines,  but  several  of  them  were 
killed.  Those  who  won  through  were  full  of  joy. 
When  his  colonel  congratulated  him,  Vanier,  who 
already  holds  the  Military  Medal  and  the  War  Cross 
with  two  palms,  replied,  "  Mon  Colonel,  I  would  rather 
be  killed  than  be  taken  by  the  Boches."  This  is  the 
last  definite  news  received  concerning  the  Fort  of 
Vaux.  The  same  day  our  aeroplanes  observed  thick 
columns  of  smoke  and  explosions  in  what  was  once  the 
fort. 

The  defence  of  Vaux  was  one  of  the  finest 
examples  of  French  doggedness,  and  the 
French  Government,  departing  from  a  rule 
which  up  till  then  had  always  been  observed, 
for  the  first  time  mentioned  an  officer  by  name 
in  a  communique,  and  held  up  to  the  admira- 
tion of  the  world  Major  Raynal,  the  commander 
of  the  fort.  Before  the  fort  fell  it  was  announced 
that  he  had  been  promoted  to  the  rank  of  com- 
mander in  the  Legion  of  Honour.  He  was  one 
of  those  French  officers  who  had  won  their  way 
up  from  the  ranks  in  a  life  of  steady  hard  work. 
He  was  severely  wounded  on  September  14, 
1914,  and  mentioned  in  dispatches  as  follows  : 
"  Commanding  the  advance  guard  of  his 
regiment,  and  having  come  into  close  contact 
with  strongly  entrenched  enemy  forces,  imme- 
diately placed  his  battalion  on  supporting 
points,  and  maintained  it  there  under  the  fire 
of  infantry,  machine  guns,  and  heavy  artillery. 
Severely  wounded  in  the  afternoon,  he  retained 
the  command  of  his  battalion,  staying  in  the  first 
line,  in  order  the  better  to  control  the  fighting 
in  difficult  and  covered  country,  until  he  was 
obliged  by  loss  of  blood  to  go  to  the  rear." 


Before  his  wounds  were  healed  he  was 
clamouring  to  get  back  to  the  fighting,  and 
as  the  medical  board  refused  to  pass  him  for 
service  in  the  field,  he  asked  for  a  fortress 
command,  and  was  given  Vaux. 

The  gallantry  of  Major  Raynal 's  defence 
moved  the  enemy  to  admiration,  and  he  was 
permitted  by  the  German  Crown  Prince  to 
retain  his  sword,  on  his  removal  to  Mainz.  It 
was  from  the  Germans  that  he  learned  of  the 
honour  bestowed  upon  him  by  the  French 
Republic,  and  in  special  recognition  of  his 
gallantry,  the  insignia  of  his  new  rank  in  the 
Legion  of  Honour  were  conferred  upon  his  wife 
at  a  special  review  at  the  Invalides. 

The  effect  of  the  fall  of  Vaux  in  its  moral 
aspect  was  merely  to  strengthen  French 
determination,  and  the  effect  upon  the  enemy 
of  the  resistance  put  up  there  was  shown  in  the 
German  Press.  The  special  correspondent  of 
the  Berliner  Tageblatt,  after  paying  a  tribute 
to  the  heroism  and  tenacity  of  the  Vaux  garrison, 
thus  related  a  conversation  he  had  had  with 
a  French  soldier  captured  in  Caillettes  Wood  : 
"  I  said,  'We've  got  Vaux  Fort.'  The  French- 
man calmly  said,  '  Well  ?  '  and  then,  with  a 
smile  full  of  irony,  added,  '  Perhaps  you've  got 
Souville  also  ?  '  This  extraordinary  optimism 
of  the  French  makes  one  really  despair." 

The  value  of  Vaux  in  the  general  reduction 
of  Verdun  proved  to  be  small,  but  its  fall  was 
the  necessary  preface  to  the  beginning  of  a 
direct  operation  against  Souville.  The  front 
formed  after  the  fall  of  Vaux,  going  from  west  to 
east,  ran  through  Hill  321,  north  of  Froide  Terre 
Ridge,  Thiaumont  work,  Fleury  village,  and 
the  woods  of  Chapitr.?,  Fumin,  Chenois,  and 
La  Laufee,  which  formed  the  approaches  to 
Souville  and  Tavannes.  The  only  road  open 
to  the  Germans  lay  down  the  valley  which 
separated  Froide  Terre  Ridge  from  the  table- 
land upon  which  were  the  forts  of  Souville 
and  Tavannes.  The  entrance  to  this  valley 
was  blocked  by  Fleury  village,  but  before  the 
enemy  could  hope  to  carry  this  they  had  to 
obtain  possession  of  Thiaumont  work. 

After  a  prolonged  pause,  following  the  fall 
of  Vaux  Fort,  the  systematic  attack  upon  this 
line  was  begun.  From  June  19  to  June  22 
this  attack  bore  down  in  three  main  directions, 
upon  Ridge  321,  Th'aumont  work,  and  Fleury. 
The  main  assault  was  delivered  on  June  23, 
when  nearly  a  hundred  thousand  men  were 
flung  upon  a  front  which  measured  barely 
three    miles.     In  the  first  sector  in  the  west 


71 


THE    TIMES    HISTORY    OF    THE    WAR. 


Phiaumont  work  was  the  main  objective. 
Between  ridges  321  and  320 — that  is  to  say, 
on  a  front  of  just  over  a  mile,  no  less  than  three 
divisions  were  engaged.  The  attack  began 
at  eight  o'clock  in  the  morning,  and  it  was  not 
till  the  afternoon,  when  -  fresh  troops  had 
been  brought  up  to  strengthen  the  shattered 
divisions,  that  the  first  small  breach  was  made 
in  the  French  line.  The  point  of  this  break 
was  just  east  of  Thiaumont  Work,  and  at  two 
in  the  afternoon  the  Germans  flung  a  tre- 
mendous concentration  of  men  upon  the  spot, 
burst  right  through  the  line,  and  poured  right 
over  the  Tliiaumont  position. 

Upon  Fleury  their  action  was  not  so  rapidly 
successful.  At  one  moment  in  the  day  they 
managed  indeed  to  reach  the  village,  but  were 
flung  out  of  it  again  with  very  heavy  losses. 
By  June  25,  after  further  murderous  assaults, 
the  enemy  had  succeeded  in  driving  a  wedge 
between  the  two  main  positions  of  the  French, 
and  had  gained  possession  of  Fleury  village. 
For  a  moment  matters  had  looked  very  black 
indeed,  and  it  had  seemed  as  though  the 
German  General  Staff  had  been  able  to  profit 
by  the  critical  moment  which  follows  retreat 
to  push  forward  and  complete  the  disorganiza- 
tion of  the  defence.  The  French  counter- 
attacks at  Fleury,  however,  upset  their  cal- 
culations, and  the  Germans  were  destined  for 
long  to  remain  unable  to  exploit  their  pos- 
session of  Fleury  village. 

While  Fleury  was  still  the  scene  of  hotly  con- 
tjsted  grenade  fighting,  already  in  the  north,  on 


the  British  front,  a  prolonged  bombardment 
foreshadowed  coming  events.  The  time  was  at 
hand  when  the  patient,  if  belated,  efforts  of 
the  Allies  to  ensure  co-ordination,  to  have — as 
M.  Briand,  the  originator  of  the  Allied  con- 
ferences, put  the  matter — unity  of  action 
upon  unity  of  front,  were  to  come  to  fruition. 
Away  on  the  Eastern  front  the  Russians  were 
striding  from  victory  to  victory.  On  the 
Southern  front  the  Italians  had  stemmed  the 
threatened  Austrian  invasion,  and  were  pre- 
paring a  vigorous  reaction.  On  the  Western 
front  also,  the  initiative  was  about  to  be  wrested 
from  the  enemy's  hands. 

The  Alhes,  in  dealing  with  this  question  of 
co-ordination,  were  at  a  disadvantage,  as  com- 
pared with  their  enemies.  The  Entento 
alliance  was  one  of  free  and  great  peoples, 
proud  of  their  independence,  and  jealous  of 
their  heritage  in  history.  It  was  impossible 
for  one  of  them  to  impose  his  will,  his  policy, 
and  Ins  leading  upon  all  the  others,  as  Germany 
did  upon  Austria-Hungary,  Bulgaria,  and 
Turkey.  Nevertheless,  much  had  been  accom- 
plished in  the  series  of  conferences  held 
in  France  and  in  England,  and  the  most 
complete  unity  of  view  had  been  obtained. 
The  rumours  which  were  spread  about  by  men 
of  little  faith  in  France,  as  to  the  unwillingness  of 
Britain  to  take  up  her  full  share  of  the  burden 
pressing  on  the  French,  spread  very  naturally 
owing  to  the  anxiety  of  the  moment  throughout 
the  country  and  across  the  Channel.  As  day 
after  day  the  Germans  slowly  pressed  in  upon 


GERMAN    PROGRESS    IN    THE    BATTLE    OF    VERDUN. 
The  first  week  and  the  first  four  months. 


THE    TIMES    HISTORY    OF    THE    WAR. 


7  a 


'ILS    NE    PASSERONT    PAS." 
The  spirit  of  France  at  Fleury. 


the  Meuse  capital,  the  waiting  for  relief  from 
the  British  placed  a  great  strain  upon  the 
judgment  and  the  faith  of  all.  A  good  cor- 
rective to  this  anxiety  was  delivered  by  Mr. 
Bonar  Law  on  his  arrival  for  the  Economic 
Conference  in  Paris,  when  he  said  that  on  two 
occasions  the  British  Army  had  been  placed  at 
the  disposal  of  General  Joffre,  and  was  ready, 
and  had  long  been  ready,  to  carry  out  all  that 
might  be  asked  of  it.  The  whole  world 
waited  on  the  tip-toe  of  expectation  for  the 
striking  of  that  hour. 

It  was  everywhere  realized  that  the  French 
at    Verdun    had   been   fighting   for   time.     As 


Sir  Edward  Grey  pointed  out,  they  were  fighting 
not  for  France  alone,  but  for  the  whole  alliance. 
If  the  French  had  failed  there  the  whole  arch 
of  allied  cooperation  would  have  tumbled  to 
the  ground,  the'  machinery  of  victory  would 
have  been  flung  out  of  gear,  and  many  a  long 
month  added  to  the  duration  of  the  war.  The 
enemy  failed,  and  the  extent  of  his  failure  can 
only  be  appreciated  by  a  rapid  survey  of 
events  since  the  beginning  of  his  offensive  on 
February  21. 

The  original  aim  of  the  offensive  had  been 
the  capture  of  Verdun.  The  first  few  days  of 
the  battle  brought  the  Germans  to  Douaumont, 


O 

Z 

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H 
Z 

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0 

H 

z 

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ft. 
z 

O 

z 

a 
a! 

Oh 


7<j 


THE    TIMES    HISTORY    OF    THE    WAR. 


77 


THE    FORT    DES    PAROCHES. 


and  within  sight  of  Douaumont  they  were 
still  fighting  when  the  joint  offensive  on  the 
Somme  began  on  July  1.  When,  after  the 
first  two  months  of  the  battle,  it  became  clear 
that  Verdun  was  not  to  be  captured,  except 
at  appalling  cost,  the  objective  was  changed. 
The  Germans  were  told  that  the  offensive  was 
purely  defensive  in  character,  that  it  aimed  at 
destroying  the  military  power  of  France,  at 
preventing  any  possibility  of  co-ordinated 
action  on  the  Western  front.  The  magnificent 
dash  made  by  the  French  south  of  the  Somme 
in  the  first  days  of  July  proved  how  complete 
had  been  German  defeat  in  this  direction. 
General  Joffre  declared  on  the  occasion  of  the 
second  anniversary  of  the  war  : 

The  great  sacrifices  which  France  has  supported  at 
Verdun  have  given  our  Allies  time  to  build  up  their 
resources,  have  enabled  us  to  mature  our  plans  and 
carry  them  out  with  perfect  appreciation  of  the  neces- 
sities of  all  fronts.  We  are  now  able  to  employ  all  our 
resources  simultaneously  in  a  thoroughgoing  way.  I 
desire  to  pay  homage  to  the  manner  wherein  all  the 
Allies  are  fulfilling  their  part. 

Drawing  on  her  inexhaustible  resources  Russia  has 
been  afforded  time  to  bring  forward  men  in  ever-increas- 
ing numbers,  and  is  now  deploying  her  huge  armies  with 
telling  effect  in  Galieia,  Volhynia,  and  Armenia.  Great 
Britain,  too,  has  had  time  in  the  past  two  years  to  show 
the  world  the  extent  of  her  varied  resources.  Her 
troops  are  proving  their  splendid  valour  on  the  Somme, 
showing  what  a  determined  nation  can  do  in  such  times 
as  these.  No  doubt  Italy  has  a  difficult  and  limited  part 
to  play  in  a  more  restricted  sphere  of  action,  but  her 
troops  are  fulfilling  their  role  splendidly.  The  Serbian 
Army  is  beginning  at  this  moment  to  enter  the  firing- 
line  anew. 


After  this  brief  review  of  the  position  of  the 
Allied  armies  General  Joffre  outlined  the  Ger- 
man situation  in  a  few  crisp  sentences : 

We  know  positively  that  our  enemies,  although 
fighting  as  desperately  as  ever,  are  drawing  on  their 
last  reserves.  Up  to  now  they  have  followed  the  policy 
of  transferring  their  reserves  from  one  place  to  another, 
but  in  face  of  the  Allies'  united  effort  they  now  find  it 
impossible,  and  will  find  it  increasingly  impossible  in 
future,  to  pursue  such  methods.  All  our  sources  of 
information  confirm  that. 

It  is  not  for  me  to  say  how  long  this  struggle  is  going 
to  last,  but  the  question  matters  little.  We  know  that 
the  rupture  is  coming.  ^ou,  no  doubt,  feel  as  well  as 
we  do,  that  we  have  reached  the  turning  point.  The 
five  months'  resistance  of  the  French  troops  at  Verdun, 
has  shattered  the  plans  of  the  German  Staff*  and  brought 
us  round  the  corner,  heading  for  victory.  Don't,  how- 
ever, imagine  that  there  is  yet  a  marked  weakening  of 
the  German  effort  on  the  western  front.  Two-thirds  of 
their  finest  troops  are  still  opposed  to  us  on  this  side. 
The  English  and  French  face  122  of  their  best  divisions. 
On  the  Russian  front  the  Germans  have  50  divisions 
to  which  must,  of  course,  be  added  the  Austrian  Armies. 

I  won't  go  into  details  on  the  condition  and  temper 
of  the  French  Army.  You  cannot  do  better  than  avail 
yourself  of  the  facilities  to  see  our  troops  in  the  field  with 
your  own  eyes.  You  will  see  the  Army  as  it  is  after  two 
years  of  the  hardest  fighting.  You  will  see  an  Army 
of  which  the  spirit  and  energy  have  been  vastly  increased 
by  this  bitter  struggle.  To  that  I  can  add  that  the 
number  of  our  troops  at  the  front  is  greater  now  than  at 
the  beginning  of  the  war.  I  can  think  of  no  more 
eloquent  fact  than  that  as  illustrating  France's  capacity 
for  waging  a  just  war.  The  country  is  determined  to 
see  the  war  to  a  victorious  conclusion.  The  Allies  are 
fighting  not  merely  for  the  respective  interests  of  their 
countries,  but  for  the  liberty  of  the  world,  and  will  not 
stop  till  the  world's  liberty  is  definitely  assured. 

The  magnificent  spectacle  of  French  heroism 
at   Verdun  had  robbed  the   Germans  of  that 


7s 


THE    TIMES    HISTORY    OF    THE    WAR. 


moral  victory  which,  to  judga  from  their 
campaign  of  lies,  they  held  most  dear.  The 
doggsdness  of  the  poilu  aroused  the  admiration 
of  the  world.  Everywhere,  even  in  Germany, 
Verdun  was  regarded  as  symbolizing  the  whole 
fighting  spirit  of  France — the  spirit  which  found 
itself  admirably  translated  in  Orders  of  the  Day 
issued  by  General  Joffre  and  General  Nivelle. 

On  June  12  the  Generalissimo,  in  informing 
the  troops  of  the  Russian  successes  in  Galicia, 
wrote  :  "  The  plan  elaborated  by  the  councils 
of  the  coalition  is  now  in  full  course  of  execution. 
Soldiers  of  Verdun,  this  is  due  to  your  heroic 
resistance,  which  has  been  the  indispensable 
condition  for  success.  All  our  future  victories 
are  based  upon  it.  It  is  your  resistance  wdiich 
has  created  throughout  the  whole  theatre  of  the 
European  War  a  situation  from  which  will  be 
born  to-morrow  the  final  triumph  of  our 
cause." 

On  June  23  General  Nivelle  in  Army  Orders 
said  :  "  The  hour  is  decisive.  The  Germans, 
feeling  themselves  hunted  down  on  every  hand, 
are  launching  furious  and  desperate  attacks 
upon  our  front,  in  the  hope  of  reaching  the  gates 
of  Verdun  before  themselves  being  attacked  by 
the  united  forces  of  the  Allied  Armies.    You  will 


not  let  them  pass,  my  comrades.  The  country 
demands  this  further  supreme  effort.  The 
Army  of  Verdun  will  not  allow  itself  to  be  intimi- 
dated by  shells,  and  by  German  infantry,  whose 
efforts  it  has  destroyed  during  the  past  four 
months.  The  Army  of  Verdun  will  keep  its 
glory  intact." 

At  a  later  date  General  Nivelle,  in  acquainting 
his  men  with  the  address  of  praise  sent  to  them 
by  the  French  Academy,  added  :  "  It  is  one  of 
the  greatest  sources  of  pride  for  the  Verdun 
Army  to  have  earned  the  testimony  of  the  great 
assembly  which  incarnates  and  immortalizes 
the  genius  of  the  French  tongue  and  the  French 
race.  The  Army  of  Verdun  has  had  the  good 
fortune  to  answer  to  the  appeal  addressed  to  it 
by  the  country.  Thanks  to  its  heroic  tenacity 
the  offensive  of  the  Allies  has  already  made 
brilliant  progress  .  .  .  and  the  Germans  are 
not  at  Verdun.  But  their  task  is  not  yet 
finished.  No  Frenchman  will  have  earned  his 
rest  so  long  as  there  remains  a  single  enemy  upon 
the  soil  of  France,  of  Alsace,  or  Lorraine.  In 
order  to  enable  the  allied  offensive  to  develop  in 
freedom,  and  later  on  to  lead  us  to  final  victory, 
we  shall  continue  to  resist  the  assaults  of  our 
implacable  enemies,  who,  in  spite  of  the  sacrifice 


BEFORE    DOUAUMONT. 

French  Officers  watching  effect  of  Artillery  fire. 


THE    TIMES    HISTORY    OF    THE    WAR. 


70 


BEFORE    VERDUN  :    TAKING    SOUP    TO    THE    FIRING-LINE. 


of  the  half -million  men  which  Verdun  has 
already  cost  them,  have  not  given  up  their  vain 
hopes.  And,  soldiers  of  the  Eleventh  Army,  you 
will  not  be  content  with  resistance  ;  you  will  go 
on  biting  in  order  to  keep  in  front  of  you  by  a 
constant  threat  the  largest  possible  number  of 
enemy  forces,  until  the  approaching  hour  of  the 
general  offensive  has  struck.  The  past  is  a 
guarantee  of  the  future  ;  you  will  not  fail  in 
your  sacred  mission,  and  you  will  thus  acquire 
further  claims  upon  the  gratitude  of  your 
country,  and  of  the  allied  nations." 


The  effect  upon  Germany  may  be  clearly 
indicated  in  a  few  quotations  from  the  German 
Press,  which  towards  the  middle  of  June,  with 
the  Bussian  victories  in  process  of  development, 
looked  at  the  great  gamble  of  Verdun  with 
somewhat  melancholy  eyes.  The  Kolnische 
Volkszeitung,  for  instance,  the  chief  organ  of  the 
Roman  Catholic  Centre  party,  which  had 
distinguished  itself  from  even  the  rest  of  the 
German  Press  by  the  virulence  of  its  hatred  of 
France,  published  towards  the  end  of  June  an 
article  headed  "  The  Goal  Not  Yet  Reached," 


so 


THE    TIMES    HISTORY    OF    THE    WAB. 


THE    ENTRANCE    TO    FORT    ST.   MICHEL. 


in  which,  after  expressing  its  astonishment  at 
the  colossal  Russian  attacks  in  Galicia  and 
Volhynia,  it  said  :  "  On  their  side,  the  French, 
in  spite  of  the  considerable  sacrifices  they  are 
making  at  Verdun,  are  continuing  a  resistance 
which  will  take  its  place  among  the  great 
military  feats  of  all  ages.  They  are  proving 
that  they  will  shrink  from  nothing  in  order  to 
deprive  us  of  the  benefits  of  our  past  victories. 
No  one  knows  when  or  how  this  war  will  finish, 
nor  whether  certain  past  hopes  will  be  realized. 
It  is  better  not  to  speak  about  it." 

The  Hamburger  Fremdenblatt,  in  the  same 
strain  of  censored  melancholy,  said  :  "It  does 
not  matter  much  if  Verdun  fall  or  not.  Posses- 
sion of  this  or  of  that  fortress  is  of  little  value. 
What  we  must  know  is  if  the  war  is  going  to  be 
of  profit  to  one  of  the  belligerent  Powers,  and  if 
that  profit  is  worth  the  price  it  will  cost." 

Neutral  opinion  summed  up  the  situation 
created  by  the  splendid  defence  of  Verdun  in 
the  words  of  a  Spanish  paper  :  "  In  no  sector 
of  the  vast  front  which  they  defend  will  the 
Germans  be  able  to  make  a  finer  effort  than  that 
of  Verdun,  and,  if  they  are  not  victorious  in 
front  of  the  great  Lorraine  fortress,  the  Empire 


is  lost,  for  it  will  not  have  the  necessary 
elements  for  defence  against  simultaneous 
attack." 

Perhaps  the  most  striking  testimony  to  the 
value  of  the  stand  at  Verdun  is  to  be  found  in  a 
study  of  the  disposition  of  the  Allied  troops  in 
France.  Apart  from  the  relief  of  the  French 
trench  army  by  the  British  the  German  offensive 
had  led  to  no  considerable  change.  The  Ger- 
mans had  every  advantage  to  gain  by  forcing  on 
an  attack  by  the  British,  by  obliging  Britain  to 
carry  out  big  operations  before  the  training  of 
her  new  Armies  and  the  provision  of  her  new 
artillery  rendered  such  operations  advisable. 
They  failed  in  this,  as  they  had  failed  in  driving 
home  every  one  of  their  partial  successes  in  the 
field. 

The  fighting  at  Verdun  was  by  no  means  over. 
It  was  destined  to  remain  for  long  an  open  sore. 
Both  Germans  and  French  saw  in  it  a  means  of 
relieving  pressure  on  the  Somme,  but  as  will  be 
seen,  the  whole  aspect  of  the  struggle  before 
Verdun  was  changed  when  the  French  and 
British  leapt  from  their  trenches  on  both  sides 
of  the  Somme,  in  the  great  offensive  that  began 
on  July  1. 


CHAPTER    CXXXIX. 


AUSTRIAN  OFFENSIVE  OF  MAY, 

1916,  IN  THE  TRENTINO: 

ITALIAN  POLITICS. 


The  Winter  of  1915 — Situation  in  the  Speing — The  Col  di  Lana — Capture  of  the  Adamello 
Glacier — Austrian  Concentration  in  the  Trentino — Analysis  of  the  May  Offensive — 
Inadequate  Italian  Preparations — Description  of  the  Austrian  Gains — Threat  to  the 
Venetian  Plain — General  Cadorna's  Plans — The  New  Fifth  Army' — The  Turn  of  the 
Tide — Austrian  Retirement — Results  of  the  Campaign — The  Political  Situation — 
Decline  and  Fall  of  the  Salandra  Government — Italy  and  Germany' — National  Demand 
for  More  Vigorous  Prosecution  of  the  Was — A  National  Government  under  Boselli. 


THE  first  months  of  1916  saw  an 
inevitable  lull  on  the  Italian  front. 
Our  Allies  had  carried  on  offensive 
operations  right  up  to  the  turn  of 
the  year,  well  beyond  the  limit  which  had 
seemed  to  be  set  by  weather  conditions, 
but  winter  could  no  longer  be  defied.  Deep 
snow  covered  the  mountains  and  all  the  upper 
valleys,  and  mist  began  to  lie  thick  on  the  lower 
ground,  especially  on  the  Isonzo,  preventing 
accurate  artillery  preparation  and  support. 
By  Christmas  men  were  coming  South  on  leave, 
and  they  continued  to  be  sent  home  in  relay? 
throughout  the  winter  and  early  spring. 

There  was  a  lull  during  these  months,  as  far 
as  heavy  fighting  went,  but  all  winter  through 
the  opposing  armies  were  feeling  for  each  other, 
worrying  each  other,  testing  each  other's  lines 
for  weak  points,  harassing  communications  by 
long-range  artillery  fire,  and,  above  all,  working 
to  make  ready  against  the  coming  of  spring. 
Only  to  keep  the  line  on  the  mountain  front 
meant  bitter  and  ceaseless  toil,  for  the  snow 
and  the  Alpine  storms  imposed  an  effort  and  a 
strain  greater  than  in  any  other  theatre  of  war. 
To  get  food  and  fuel  and  clothing  up  to  the 
front  lines,  at  anything  from  5,000  to  10,000  feet 
Vol.  IX.— Part  107. 


above  the  sea,  implied  a  struggle  that  can  have 
no  parallel  in  warfare.  The  Austrians  were  no 
longer  the  chief  enemy.  Frostbite  threatened 
continually,  and  the  rigours  of  a  winter  at 
extreme  altitudes  found  out  any  weakness  in 
physique.  On  the  whole  the  health  of  the 
troops  was  wonderful.  The  dangers  of  frostbite 
were  minimized  by  the  provision  of  special  foot- 
gear and  by  insistence  upon  proper  precautions, 
while  the  well-equipped  encampments  that  were 
huddled  among  the  snows  gave  ■  adequate 
shelter  against  the  terrible  driving  tempests  that 
sweep  the  Alps  in  winter.  The  task  of  furnish- 
ing supplies  was  made  difficult  and  dangerous 
by  frequent  avalanches.  A  number  of  supply 
trains  were  buried  on  their  way  to  the  front 
lines,  and  a  loss  of  this  kind  was  a  double 
disaster.  Not  only  was  the  convoy  destroyed, 
but  men  at  the  front  had  sometimes  to  go 
hungry  and  cold  for  lack  of  food  and  fuel,  for 
it  took  time  to  re-open  communications.  The 
problem  was  eventually  solved,  or  nearly  solved, 
by  the  construction  of  teleferiche  or  filovie  (they 
went  by  both  names  at  the  front) — aerial  cable 
railways  that  carried  a  load  of  nearly  half  a 
ton.  In  this  way  supplies  and  munitions  were 
rapidly  conveyed   to   the   highest  points,   and 


SI 


82 


THE    TIMER    HISTORY    OF    THE    WAR 


AN    ITALIAN    SIEGE    GUN. 


where  this  method  of  transit  was  possible 
the  danger  from  avalanches  was  largely 
avoided. 

All  along  the  front  the  work  of  fortification 
and  preparation  went  on.  The  hard -won 
positions  on  the  Carso  were  made  much  less 
"  unhealthy  "  by  the  construction  of  main  and 
communication  trenches  cut  deep  in  the  rock, 
and  by  the  excavation  of  dug-outs  which  were 
really  "  blasted-outs."  The  task  of  the  Italians 
in  this  sector  had  been  made  much  more  arduous 
owing  to  the  difficulty  of  constructing  and 
adapting  trenches  as  they  advanced,  and  by 
the  lack  of  cover  for  supporting  troops.  Their 
lines  were  greatly  strengthened  during  the 
winter,  and  while  this  ensured  smaller  losses 
in  the  event  of  an  Austrian  attack,  they  also 
provided  a  much  better  "  take-off "  for  a 
forward  movement. 

Military  and  political  conferences  at  Paris  in 
March,  1916,  following  upon  M.  Briand's  visit 
to  Rome,  showed  that  the  idea  of  united  and 
simultaneous  action  had  finally  been  accepted 
by  each  member  of  the  Quadruple  Entente,  and 
in  Italy,  as  elsewhere,  the  day  when  all  the 
Allies  should  strike  together  was  eagerly  ex- 
pected. At  the  end  of  March,  when  the 
tremendous  pressure  brought  against  the  French 
lines  round  Verdun  seemed  almost  to  go  beyond 


human  resistance,  there  was  a  considerable 
movement  in  Italy  in  favour  of  sending  direct 
assistance  to  France.  Senator  Humbert's  ap- 
peals in  the  French  Press  were  backed  by 
various  Italian  newspapers  and  found  special 
support  among  the  "  Interventionists  of  the 
Left,"  who  looked  with  favour  on  any  step 
which  should  associate  Italy  more  closely  and 
clearly  with  her  Allies.  As  the  military 
authorities,  and  those  who  were  aufait  with  the 
general  situation,  realized,  and  as  events  were 
later  to  prove,  such  a  step  would  have  done  no 
service  to  the  common  cause.  But  the  desire 
for  united  action  was  growing  ever  stronger,  and 
when  the  Italian  guns  began  to  thunder  on  the 
Isonzo,  at  the  end  of  March,  there  was  a  general 
feeling  of  satisfaction  throughout  the  country. 
The  heavy  bombardment  which  took  place,  and 
the  infantry  actions  which  followed,  were  in 
fact  only  a  "  bluff,"  though  considerable  losses 
were  incurred  on  both  sides.  No  general  attack 
was  intended  ;  the  increase  of  activity  was  duo 
to  the  news  that  Austrian  guns  were  being  sent 
to  France,  and  it  was  essential  to  prevent  any 
such  movement. 

During  April  two  actions  of  special  interest, 
if  not  of  first-class  importance,  took  place  on  the 
mountain    front.      It    has    been    explained    in 


THE    TIMES    HISTORY    OF    THE    WAR. 


83 


Chapter  CIX.*  how  after  the  taking  of  Col  di 
Lana  on  November  9,  it  was  found  impossible 
to  hold  the  summit  so  gallantly  won  by  Colonel 
"  Peppino  "  Garibaldi.  The  Italians  held  the 
greater  part  of  the  mountain,  but  the  Austrians 
still  clung  to  the  far  slope  of  the  main  psak.  It 
was  decided  to  tunnel  through  the  peak  during 
the  winter  months  and  blow  the  Austrian  gar- 
rison off  its  last  foothold  on  tire  mountain 
which  had  seen  so  much  hard  fighting.  The 
operation,  which  took  three  months  to  complete, 
was  entirely  successful.  A  fortnight  before  the 
work  was  finished  the  Austrians  realized  their 
danger  and  drove  counter -mines  into  the  moun- 
tain. One  of  these  was  exploded,  but  its  direc- 
tion was  wrong,  and  on  the  night  of  April  17 
the  vast  Italian  mine  was  touched  off,  and  the 
fragments  of  the  Austrian  position  were  rushed 
by  an  infantry  attack.  The  mine  crater  was 
1 50  feet  wide  and  nearly  50  feet  deep.  For  some 
days  the  Austrian  artillery  fire  from  the  west 
made  things  very  uncomfortable  for  the 
Italians,  but  the  new  lines  were  soon  firmly 
established,  and  a  further  advance  was  made 
along  the  ridges  of  Monte  Sief  and  the  Settsass. 
*  Vol.  VII.,  p.  76. 


About  the  time  that  the  Col  di  Lana  mine 
wa?  nearing  completion,  the  commander  of  a 
"  group  "  of  Alpini,  Colonel  Giordana,  was  pre- 
paring an  attack  that  stands  alone  in  the  history 
of  mountain  warfare.  On  the  western  frontier 
of  the  Trentino,  the  Adamello  range,  with  its 
vast  glacier,  seemed  to  oppose  an  impassable 
barrier  between  the  Italians  and  the  valleys  that 
run  down  from  it  towards  the  Adige.  In  the 
summer  of  1915  small  raiding  parties  had 
fought  on  the  glacier,  and  on  the  dreary  rocks 
that  rise  above  it,  but  Colonel  Giordana  be- 
lieved that  by  this  seemingly  impossible  route 
the  Austrian  lines  might  be  seriously  invaded. 
His  plans  were  compromised  by  the  necessity 
of  detaching  the  greater  part  of  his  command 
to  another  sector  of  the  front,  but  he  deter- 
mined to  carry  out  the  first  portion  of  his  scheme, 
the  seizure  of  the  Austrian  positions  on  the  far 
side  of  the  glacier,  with  the  lessened  forces  that 
remained  to  him. 

The  huge  Adamello  glacier  is  cut  by  three 
rock  ridges  running  roughly  parallel,  north  and 
south.  The  eastern  and  western  ridges  are 
almost  on  the  edge  of  the  glacier,  and  these  were 
lightly  held  by  Austrian  and  Italian  posts.     But 


ACROSS    A   MOUNTAIN    TORRENT. 
An    Italian  surprise-attack  across  a  river. 


84 


THE    TIMES    HISTORY    OF    THE    WAR. 


eavly  in  April  the  Austrians  sent  forward  out- 
posts to  the  central  ridge,  which  runs  from 
Lobbia  Bassa  by  Lobbia  Alta  and  Dosson  di 
Genova  to  Mont3  Fumo.  They  were  not  long 
left  in  peace.  On  the  night  of  April  11,  300 
Alpini,  clothed  in  their  white  winter  uniform, 
left  the  Rifugio  Garibaldi  on  skis  and  reached 
the  glacier  by  way  of  the  Brizio  Pass.  Here,  at 
10,000  feet  above  the  sea,  they  entered  a  region 
that  is  polar  in  its  aspect — and  in  its  severity, 
for  here  they  met  with  a  wild  Arctic  storm.  They 
lost  their  way  in  the  turmoil  of  wind  and  snow, 
but  kept  going  all  night  to  escape  the  death  that 
would  have  gripped  them  if  they  stopped.  The 
morning  found  them  scattered  over  the  glacier. 
All  hope  of  surprise  was  gone,  and  the  Austrians 
had  machine  guns  on  the  central  ridge.     They 


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iXoYrtllAVOLO 


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m 


THE    ADAMELLO    RANGE. 

divided  into  two  columns,  and  in  spite  of  their 
weariness  and  heavy  losses,  succeeded  in  storm- 
ing the  Austrian  positions  on  Lobbia  Alta  and 
Dosson  di  Genova.  The  Austrians  were  nearly 
all  killed  or  captured.  But  this  was  only  the 
first  step.  Seventeen  days  later,  on  the  evening 
of  April  29,  2,000  Alpini  set  out  from  the 
Rifugio  Garibaldi.  It  was  a  very  clear,  starry 
night,  and  by  5  o'clock  in  the  morning  the 
Alpini,  who  were  in  three  columns,  found  them- 
selves under  the  eastern  ridge.  The  central 
column  had  the  easiest  work.  The  Austrians 
had  left  the  highest  point,  Crozzon  di  Lares,  to 
shelter  on  a  lower  saddle.  When  they  sighted 
the  Alpini  beneath  them  it  was  a  race  for 
the  peak,  but  the  Alpini  outpaced  the  enemy 
and  were  first  by  a  few  minutes.  By  the  occu- 
pation of  the  Crozzon  di  Lares  the  lower  saddle 
and  the  Passo  di  Lares  were  completely  domin- 


ated, and  the  Austrians  made  no  attempt  to 
attack,  retiring  eastwards  along  the  ridge  that 
runs  to  the  Crozzon  del  Diavolo.  The  northern 
column  had  a  stiff  fight  before  it  could  gain 
possession  of  the  Topeti  Pass  and  the  peak  to 
the  north  of  it,  the  Crozzon  di  Fargorida,  but 
here,  too,  the  Austrians  were  driven  back.  The 
southern  column  had  a  harder  task.  The 
approaching  march,  by  way  of  "the  English- 
men's Pass,"  between  the  highest  peak  of  the 
Adamcllo  and  Corno  Bianco,  had  been  longer 
and  more  difficult,  and  the  ridge  that  faced  the 
advancing  troops  seemed  to  make  a  frontal 
attack  impossible.  The  men  were  very  weary  ; 
one  or  two  actually  died  of  exhaustion  and 
cold  as  they  moved  to  the  advance.  A  small 
flanking  party  was  sent  out  under  a  volunteer 
officer,  and  while  the  main  body  advanced  . 
slowly  and  drew  the  Austrian  fire,  this  handful 
of  men  scaled  a  rock  pinnacle  north  of  the  Passo 
di  Cavento  and  turned  the  enemy's  position. 
When  the  flanking  party,  after  a  two  hours' 
climb,  reached  their  goal,  the  main  body 
attacked  furiously,  and  after  a  struggle  that 
lasted  many  hours  the  position  was  won.  Most 
of  the  Austrians  were  killed  or  taken  prisoners  ; 
only  a  few  succeeded  in  making  their  escapo 
across  the  Lares  glacier.  A  fortnight  later 
the  Italians  completed  their  occupation  of  the 
eastern  ridge  and  also  occupied  the  Crozzon  del 
Diavolo,  the  highest  point  of  the  ridge  that 
divides  the  Fargorida  and  Lares  glaciers.  The 
accounts  of  the  undertaking  emphasize  the 
support  given  by  the  Italian  artillery,  which 
had  been  hoisted  into  impossible  places. 
Even  a  battery  of  six-inch  guns  had  been 
brought  up  to  the  western  edge  of  the  Adamello 
glacier. 

These  are  only  the  barest  facts.  It  is  im- 
possible to  convey  in  a  few  words  a  just  idea  of 
the  skill  and  toil  and  hardship  involved  in  the 
conduct  of  the  operations.  A  volunteer  subal- 
tern who  was  with  the  southern  column  found 
the  right  word  :  "epic."  Imagination  must  do 
the  rest,  and  even  imagination  can  only  serve 
those  who  know  the  glaciers  of  the  high  Alps, 
not  in  the  tourist  season,  but  when  the  year  is 
changing  from  winter  to  summer. 

As  a  result  of  the  operations  the  Italians 
dominated  the  heads  of  the  valleys  which  run 
down  to  the  Val  Giudicaria,  and  particularly  the 
Val  di  Genova.  The  occupation  of  the  new 
positions  enabled  the  Italians  to  threaten  from 
the  flank  the  Austrian  lines  opposing  the  Italian 
advance  in  the  Val  Giudicaria,  and  it  was  hoped 


THE    TIMES    HISTORY    OF    THE    WAR. 


85 


LOWERING     A    WOUNDED    SOLDIER    FROM    THE    MOUNTAIN     HEIGHTS. 

An  Italian  method  of  lowering  the  stretchers  in   a  sling  along  a  guiding-rope.       On  the  lower  level    Red 
Gross  orderlies,  at  a  hospital  tent,   control  the  descent. 


107-2 


86 


THE    TIMES    HISTORY    OF     THE    WAR. 


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THE    AREA    OE    THE    AUSTRIAN     OFEENSIVE. 


that  the  operations  might  be  fruitful  of  result 
as  the  season  became  more  favourable.* 

It  has  been  said  that  Colonel  Giordana  had 
to  see  the  withdrawal  of  the  greater  part  of  his 
command  at  the  very  moment  when  he  was 
preparing  his  arduous  enterprise.  This  with- 
drawal was  due  to  the  expectation  of  an  Aus- 
trian offensive  on  an  important  scale  to  the 
east  of  the  Adige  valley.  The  Italian  Intelli- 
gence Department  was  aware  of  a  very  large 
concentration  of  men  and  material  in  the 
neighbourhood  of  Trento,  and  it  was  evident 
that  the  Austrians  were  preparing  for  operations 
on  a  scale  quite  different  from  anything  that 
had  been  hitherto  seen  on  that  part  of  the 
front.  In  view  of  the  terrain,  the  greatest 
possible  number  of  Alpine  troops  were  dis- 
patched to  the  scene  of  the  expected  fighting, 
and  Colonel  Giordana's  men  were  sent  to  the 
Eastern  Trentino. 

*  Colonel  Giordana  was  promoted  Hajor-General,  and 
transferred  to  the  Eastern  Trentino,  where  he  was 
shortly  afterwards  killed. 


The  Austrian  concentration  had  been  carried 
out  very  gradually.  The  Trentino  front  had 
been  reinforced  at  the  end  of  November,  1915. 
and  all  through  the  winter  troops  and  guns  were 
being  quietly  conveyed  from  the  Russian  front, 
or  from  the  depots  and  munition  factories  within 
the  Empire.  It  was  certainly  the  belief  of  the 
Austrian  Command  that  the  Russians  would  bo 
incapable  of  any  important  offensive  action  in 
the  early  summer,  and  they  had  every  hope 
that  they  would  be  able  to  carry  out  what  the 
heir  to  the  Habsburg  throne,  in  an  address  to 
his  troops,  termed  a  "  Straf -expedition,"  before 
any  danger  could  threaten  from  the  East.  The 
Italian  Command,  of  course,  knew  what  the 
enemy  did  not  know,  the  real  condition  of  the 
Russian  armies,  and  they  doubtless  assumed 
that  the  enemy  Intelligence  Department  was 
better  informed  than  it  actually  was.  Doubt- 
less, also,  they  were  misled  by  the  gradualness 
and  secrecy  with  which  the  Austrians  carried 
out  their  preparations.  In  any  event,  they 
miscalculated  the  extent  of  the  coming  Austrian 


THE    TIMES    HISTORY    OF    THE    WAR. 


87 


effort.  They  believed  in  a  hard  push,  and  took 
measures  to  meet  it,  though  on  certain  parts  of 
the  line  the  local  commanders  had  not  realized 
the  absolute  necessity  of  unlimited  spadework, 
in  the  literal  sense.  But  the  Italian  Command 
was  not  prepared  for  the  hammer-stroke  that 
came  in  the  middle  of  May. 

On  May  14  the  Austrians  began  a  very  heavy 
bombardment  along  the  whole  front  from  the 
Val  Giudicaria  to  the  sea,  but  it  was  quickly 
evident,  even  if  it  had  not  already  been  fore- 
seen, that  the  enemy's  offensive  was  to  be 
concentrated  upon  the  comparatively  short 
front  between  the  Val  Lagarina  and  the  Val 
Sugana,  and  particularly  upon  the  sector  be- 
tween the  Val  Lagarina  and  the  Upper  Astico. 
On  May  1 5  the  Austrians  followed  up  the  initial 
bombardment  by  massed  infantry  attacks  all 
along  this  sector. 

Here  it  will  be  well  to  recapitulate  the  infor- 
mation given  in  Chapter  CIX.  regarding  the 
positions  which  the  Italians  held  in  the  Eastern 
Trentino,  and  to  add  a  further  description  of 
the  terrain  which  was  to  be  the  scene  of  a  long 
and  desperate  struggle. 

When  the  Austrian  attack  began,  the  Italian 
line  east  of  the  Val  Lagarina  ran  from  just 
south  of  Rovereto  up  the  Val  Terragnolo  north 


of  Col  Santo  (6,830  feet),  which  is  the  northern 
ridge  of  the  great  Pasubio  massif  (highest  point 
7,335  feet),  as  far  as  Monte  Maronia  (5,540  feet) ; 
thence  in  front  of  the  Folgaria  group  of  fortifica- 
tions to  Soglio  d'Aspio  (4,375  feet).  From  Soglio 
dAspio  it  bent  back  eastward.  The  Italians 
had  made  no  impression  on  the  fortified  lines 
of  the  Lavarone  plateau  and  their  positions 
followed  a  line  not  far  west  of  the  old  frontier 
as  far  as  Cima  Manderiolo  (6,665  feet)  ;  whence 
they  ran  northward  across  the  Valle  Maggio 
and  the  Val  Sugana  to  Monte  Collo,  a  point 
north-west  of  Borgo  ;  thence  north-eastward 
to  the  Val  Calamento.  There  were  other 
advanced  posts  outside  this  main  line,  but  they 
were  of  little  importance,  and  indeed  it  is  mis- 
leading to  term  this  the  main  line,  though  it 
was  all  effectively  occupied  by  Italian  troops. 
There  were  certain  positions,  the  occupation 
of  which  formed  part  of  an  offensive  scheme, 
which  were  obviously  untenable  in  the  face  of 
an  Austrian  attack  in  force.  Zugna  Torta  and 
the  slopes  leading  down  to  Rovereto  formed  a 
dangerously  exposed  salient,  commanded  from 
the  west  by  the  Austrian  positions  on  Biaena, 
on  the  north  by  Monte  Ghello,  and  on  the  north- 
east by  the  fortified  lines  of  Finonchio.  The 
lines  in  the  Val  Terragnolo  were  very  much 
exposed,    and    Soglio   d'Aspio,   flanked   by   the 


ITALIAN    TROOPS    IN    THEIR    HIRST-LINE    TRENCHES. 


.VS 


THE    TIMES    HISTORY    OF    THE    WAB. 


89 


great  Lavarone-Luserna  plateau  on  the  north, 
was  practically  in  the  air.  The  real  Italian 
defensive  line  ran  from  Serravalle  in  the  Val 
Lagarina  by  Malga  Zugna  across  the  Vallarsa 
to  Pasuhio  ;  from  Pasubio  by  the  Borcola  Pass 
to  Monte  Maggio  (5,730  feet),  and  thence, 
leaving  the  exposed  frontier,  by  Monte  Toraro 
(6,175  feet),  and  Monte  Campomolon  (6,030  feet ) 
to  Spitz  Tonezza  (5,512  feet)  ;  thence  along  the 
highest  part  of  the  Sette  Comuni  plateau  to 
Cima  Portule  (7,510  feet),  and  thence  across  the 
Val  Sugana  to  the  slopes  east  of  the  Maso 
stream. 

But  this  lino  was  not  satisfactory,  especially 
the  sector  between  the  Val  Posina  and  the  Upper 
Astico.  Experience  had  shown  that  massed 
infantry  attacks,  if  preceded  by  a  sufficiently 
shattering  artillery  fire,  can  generally  win  a 
footing  in  the  first-line  system  of  defences.  In 
level  or  nearly  level  country  the  various  lines  of 
defence  may  follow  one  another  at  very  short 
intervals,  and  the  breaking  of  a  section  of  the 
front  line  need  not  very  greatly  affect  the 
position  as  a  whole.  In  hilly  country  the  lines 
of  defence  are  conditioned  by  the  nature  of  the 
ground.  A  second  line  may  have  to  be  a 
considerable  distance  from  the  first,  in  order  to 
give  its  defenders  a  fair  chance  of  resistance, 
and  the  occupation  of  one  dominating  point  in 
a  line  has  a  greater  effect  than  it  has  in  level 
country.  Good  positions  in  a  mountainous 
country  make  the  best  line  a  defender  can  hope 
for.  A  bad  mountain  position  leaves  him  much 
worse  off  than  in  the  plains. 

Between  the  Val  Posina  and  the  Upper 
Astico  the  Italian  position  was  bad.  It  has 
already  been  explained  how  the  main  defences 
of  the  Arsiero  plateau  had  to  run  along  the  line 
Monte  Ma.ggio,  Monte  Toraro,  Monte  Cam- 
pomolon, Spitz  Tonezza.  But  this  defensive 
line  had  nothing  to  back  it.  The  ground  falls 
away  south-eastwards  in  a  long  glacis  that 
drops  steeply  at  last  to  the  Posina  valley  on 
the  south  and  the  Astico  on  the  east.  The 
position  was  bad  by  nature,  and  only  the  most 
careful  and  complete  preparation  could  have 
made  it  a  really  stout  bulwark  against  a  deter- 
mined attack.  And  that  preparation  was 
lacking. 

In  the  first  place,  the  Italians  were  short  of 
guns.  This  shortage  had  handicapped  them 
in  their  attacks  on  the  Isonzo  line,  and  it  had 
not  yet  been  made  up,  though  great  progress 
had  been  effected  in  the  output  of  war  material, 
and  France  had  supplied  some   heavy  howit- 


GENERAL    PECORI-GIRALDI. 

Commanded  the  First  Army. 

zers  of  a  new  type.  In  the  second  place,  the 
dispositions  taken  by  the  general  commanding 
the  First  Army,  and  by  some  of  the  local  com- 
manders, were  not  only  insufficient,  but,  as 
far  as  they  went,  unskilful. 

In  Chapter  CIX.  it  was  said  that  in  their 
gallant  offensive  actions  on  the  Isonzo  in  1915 
the  Italians  had  suffered  from  a  lack  of  techni- 
que in  trench  warfare.  But  the  armies  on  the 
Isonzo,  officers  and  men,  had  been  gradually 
hammered  by  the  stress  of  hard  fighting  into 
splendidly  efficient  weapons,  well  able  to  deal 
with  the  new  conditions  of  war.  In  the  Tren- 
tino  it  was  otherwise.  There  had  been  a  good 
deal  of  desultory  fighting  and  a  great  deal  of 
artillery  work  throughout  the  year  that  had 
elapsed  since  the  beginning  of  the  war.  But 
no  serious  offensive  had  been  undertaken  by 
the  Italians,  and  the  enemy  had  never  even 
tested  the  Italian  lines.  It  seems  certain  that 
General  Roberto  Brusati,  the  General  in  com- 
mand of  the  First  Army,  had  failed  to  realize 
the  nature  of  a  modern  offensive  on  the  grand 
scale,  and  that  some  of  his  officers  were  equally 
lacking  in  insight.  It  is  understood  that 
General  Brusati  fully  believed  in  the  imminence 
of  the  Austrian  offensive,  unlike  some  of  his 
subordinates,  who  declared  it  to  be  practically 
impossible.     If  this  be  true,  there  is  the  less 


90 


THE     TIMES    HISTORY    OF    THE    WAR. 


excuse  for  the  condition  of  unpreparedncss  in 
which  a  part  of  the  front  under  Ms  command 
was  found  to  be 

It  has  been  said  that  the  Italian  Command 
miscalculated  the  extent  of  the  coming  offen- 
sive. General  Cadorna  was  correctly  informed 
of  the  number  of  enemy  troops  concentrated 
in  the  Trent  ino,  and  he  had  detailed  sufficient 
reinforcements  to  cope  with  the  attack  which 
he  expected.  He  did  not  expect,  however, 
the  immense  weight  of  artillery  which  was 
massed  upon  the  front  between  the  Yal  Laga- 
rina  and  the  Yal  Sugana.  It  would  appear,  too, 
that  he  did  not  exactly  anticipate  the  direction 
of  the  Austrian  attack.  The  Austrian  concen- 
tration at  Trento,  and  the  excellent  system  of 
roads  which  branches  south  and  south-east- 
wards through  the  Eastern  Trentino,  permitted 
an  attacking  force  to  be  tlirown  at  any  point 
on  the  Italian  line.  The  Italian  lateral  com- 
munications in  the  uplands  were  not  favourable. 
A  great  deal  had  been  done  in  the  way  of  making 
roads,  but  the  lie  of  the  country  complicated 
the  problem.  General  Cadorna's  strategic 
reserves  had  to  be  concentrated  in  the  plain, 
and  from  the  course  of  the  fighting  which  fol- 
lowed it  seems  that  he  had  rather  expected  the 
main  Austrian  efforts  to  be  directed  against 
the  wings  of  the  Italian  forces  in  the  Eastern 
Trentino,  along  the  parallel  highways  of  the 
Val  Lagarina  and  the  Vallarsa  on  the  west, 
and  the  Yal  Sugana  on  the  east.  He  had  good 
grounds  for  such  a  calculation.  There  is  a 
railway  both  in  the  Yal  Lagarina  and  in  the 
Val  Sugana,  and  the  terrain  in  the  centre  is 
very  difficult  for  heavy  artillery.  An  envelop- 
ing movement  seemed  on  the  whole  more  likely 
than  a  drive  at  the  centre. 

Towards  the  end  of  April  General  Cadorna 
transferred  his  quarters  to  the  First  Army.  It 
may  be  deduced  that  he  was  not  satisfied  with 
the  dispositions  taken,  for  within  a  few  days 
General  Brusati  was  deprived  of  his  command,* 
and  General  Pecori-Giraldi  was  appointed  to 
the  First  Army.  General  Pecori-Giraldi  had 
been  under  a  cloud  when  the  war  began.  He 
had  been  sent  home  in  disgrace  from  Tripoli 
at  the  end  of  1911,  on  grounds  which  it  was 
difficult  to  recognize  as  adequate,  and  there  is 
too  much  reason  to  believe  that  political  con- 
siderations led  to  his  recall.     General  Cadorna 


*  General  Brusati  was  placed  a  dispositions  on  May  13. 
On  May  25  his  case  was  deliberated  by  the  Cabinet,  and 
he  was  retired  from  the  Army  by  a  special  Government 
decree. 


had  always  held  a  very  high  opinion  of  General 
Pecori-Giraldi,  and  when  the  war  broke  out 
he  was  given  a  division  in  reserve.  He  was 
soon  transferred  to  the  front  line,  where  his 
work  earned  him  promotion  to  the  command 
of  an  army  corps.  He  was  now  to  be  tested 
very  severely.  He  took  over  the  First  Army 
too  late  to  be  able  to  repair  the  deficiencies  in 
the  preparations  made  by  his  predecessor, 
and  before  he  had  time  to  grip  his  command 
the  enemy  blow  fell. 

The  bombardment  which  opened  the  Austrian 
offensive  came  as  a  very  unwelcome  sin-prise 
to  the  defending  army.  It  was  at  once  evident 
that  the  amount  of  heavy  and  mediiun-calibre 
artillery  at  the  enemy's  disposal  was  very  large 
in  proportion  to  his  numbers,  and  the  storm  of 
high  explosive  which  was  directed  against  the 
Italian  lines  soon  found  out  the  weak  spots. 
The  concentration  of  Austrian  artillery  was 
certainly  formidable.  Well  over.  2,000  guns 
(one  detailed  account  which  should  be  correct 
put  the  number  in  the  Trentino  at  2,400) 
were  collected  on  a  front  of  less  than  30  miles. 
Of  these  nearly  800  were  of  medium  or  large 
calibre.  There  were  not  less  than  40  12-inch 
Skoda  howitzers  on  the  narrow  front,  and  in 
addition  there  were  three,  or  possibly  four, 
German  420's,  and  a  couple  of  15-inch  naval 
guns.  At  least  eighteen  Austrian  divisions 
were  concentrated  in  the  Trentino,  and  the 
attacking  force  which  was  thrown  against  the 
front  between  the  Val  Lagarina  and  the  Val 
Sugana  consisted  of  15  divisions,  all  of  them 
picked  first-line  troops.  In  all  some  350,000 
men  were  launched   upon  the   StraJ "-expedition. 

It  was  soon  clear  that  the  main  drive  was  to 
be  in  the  centre.  No  fewer  than  30  of  the 
305's  were  massed  on  the  Folgaria  and  Lavarone 
plateaux.  In  this  sector,  too,  were  the  420's, 
and  the  big  naval  guns.  One  of  the  latter 
was  placed  at  Cost'  Alta,  near  the  road  that 
runs  from  Monte  Rovere  to  Vezzena  under  the 
old  fort  of  Busa  di  Verle.  From  this  point 
15-in.  shells  were  flung  into  Asiago,  11  miles 
away.  A  torrent  of  high-explosive  was  poured 
unceasingly  on  the  main  Italian  positions, 
and  the  roads  leading  up  to  them  on  the 
Asiago  and  Arsiero  plateaux  were  subjected 
to  a  very  severe  tir  de  barrage. 

As  the  Austrian  infantry  attack  developed 
the  Italians  withdrew  from  their  advanced 
positions,  taking  heavy  toll  of  the  enemy 
before  they  went.  The  first  forward  move- 
ments took  place  on  the  wings,  against  Zugna 


THE    TIMES    HISTORY    OF    THE    WAR. 


91 


INFANTRY    ADVANCING    UNDER    HEAVY    SHRAPNEL    FIRE. 

A  concealed  Italian   machine  gun  assisting  an  advance.     The  advancing  infantry,  on  all  fours,  are 

carrying  bags  filled  with  sand  on  their  backs  to  protect  them  from  the  flying  bullets. 


Torta  and  the  Armentera  ridge  (south  of 
the  Brenta,  between  Levico  and  Roncegno). 
The  Italians  lost  a  good  many  prisoners  in 
the  outlying  positions  near  Rovereto,  where 
they  counter-attacked  several  times,  but  the 
enemy  paid  dearly  for  the  ground  won.     On 


May  17  five  separate  infantry  attacks  on  Zugna 
Torta  were  repulsed  with  heavy  loss,  but 
the  following  day  Zugna  Torta  was  evacuated, 
the  Italians  retiring  upon  their  prepared 
positions  at  Malga  Zugna.  The  Armentera 
ridge  was  evacuated  two   days   later.     Mean- 


!>2 


THE     TIMES    HISTORY    OF    THE    WAR. 


COUNT    OF    TURIN  (on  right) 
In  Command  of  Italian   Cavalry. 

while  the  Austrian  advance  in  the  centre  was 
developing  under  cover  of  a  ceaseless  fire  from 
guns  of  every  calibre.  On  May  18  the  line 
running  northward  from  Monte  Maggio  to 
Soglio  d'Aspio  was  abandoned,  in  accordance 
with  expectation,  but  the  following  day  a 
very  serious  loss  befell  the  Italians,  who  were 
driven  off  the  Monte  Toraro — Monte  Campo- 
lon-Spitz  Tonezza  line.  This  was  the  sector  of 
the  Trentino  front  where  preparation  had 
been  specially  necessary  and  where  it  had 
been  notably  lacking.  The  troops,  without 
adequate  cover  against  the  storm  of  heavy 
shells,  had  little  chance,  and  they  were  further 
handicapped  by  a  shortage  of  field  and  mountain 
artillery.  The  position  seems  to  have  been 
arranged  as  though  the  Italians  were  on  the 
offensive.  The  big  guns  were  well  forward, 
and  there  were  not  enough  field  and  mountain 
guns  to  hold  back  the  advancing  masses  of  the 
enemy.  One  brigade  broke  under  the  tre- 
mendous strain  :  the  Austrians  gained  a  footing 
on  the  main  Italian  line  before  reinforcements 
<;ould  arrive,  and  took  a  very  considerable 
number  of  prisoners.  The  Italian  centre  was 
now  practically  gone,  and  the  Austrians  were 
pressing  hard  on  the  left.  The  Italians  had 
fallen  back  from  Col  Santo  upon  Pasubio, 
and  both  here  and  against  C'oni  Zugna  a  very 
strong    attack    was    developing.      Between    the 


Astico  and  the  Val  Sugana  the  fighting  was  now 
equally  furious.  The  Italians  were  holding 
their  own,  and  had  succeeded  in  winning  back 
various  points  that  they  had  lost  in  the  first 
onslaught.  But  the  whole  position  was  pre- 
judiced by  the  loss  of  the  only  line  that  could 
defend  the  Arsiero  plateau,  and  our  Allies 
were  outgunned  in  the  Sette  Comuni  as  well 
as  farther  south.  On  May  20  the  Austrians 
pushed  farther  forward  through  the  hole  in 
the  centre,  occupying  the  Cimon  dei  Laghi 
and  the  Cima  di  Mesole.  They  also  occupied 
the  Borcola  Pass.  The  Alpini  on  the  Coston 
dei  Laghi,  between  the  Borcola  and  Monte 
Maggio,  repulsed  a  determined  infantry  attack, 
but  their  position  was  quite  untenable,  and 
they  were  withdrawn. 

On  May  20,  after  the  break  in  the  centre, 
<  leneral  Cadorna,  who  had  assumed  supreme 
control  of  the  operations,  decided  to  withdraw 
his  whole  centre  line.  His  plan  involved  a 
considerable  sacrifice  of  territory,  but  he  had 
little  alternative.  A  counter-attack  upon  the 
Campomolon-Spitz  Tonezza  positions,  delivered 
by  reserves  who  had  been  hurried  to  the  spot, 
had  failed,  and  it  was  essential  to  find  favourable 
positions  for  further  resistance.  It  has  been 
explained  that  the  plateau  falls  right  away 
from  the  Campomolon  line  until  it  drops  into 


THE    DUKE    D'AOSTA 

With  his    son,    Prince  Amadio,  at  the  front. 


THE     TIMES    HISTORY    OF     THE    WAR. 


93 


ENTRANCE    TO    AN    ITALIAN    GENERAL'S    UNDERGROUND    QUARTERS. 


the  Posina  and  Astico  valleys.  It  was  to  the 
south  of  the  Posina  and  east  of  the  Astico  that 
General  Cadorna  traced  his  new  line.  But  this 
retreat  implied  a  corresponding  withdrawal 
in  the  Sette  Comuni,  and  the  line  chosen  ran 
from  Cima  Portule,  east  cf  the  Val  d'Assa,  and 
east  and  south  of  Asiago. 

On  May  21  the  withdrawal  began,  and  it  was 
conducted  without  much  interference  from 
the  enemy,  who  had  suffered  very  heavily, 
and  were  engaged  in  consolidating  the  positions 
they  had  won.  By  May  24  the  Italians  were, 
for  the  most  part,  south  of  the  Posina  and  east 
■  if  the  Astico  and  the  Assa,  leaving  only  skeleton 
rearguards  to  contain  the  enemy's  advance  as 
long  as  possible.  But  the  situation  was  still 
far  from  satisfactory.  There  was  no  time 
to  dig  in  deeply  on  the  new  positions  ;  the 
Austrians  had  a  great  preponderance  in  artillery, 
and  it  wa<  clear  that  in  a  few  days  at  most 
the  second  phase  of  the  attack  would  begin, 
with  the  Austrians  coming  downhill.  Moreover, 
everything  hung  upon  the  wings  holding  firm, 
and  the  Austrians  were  attacking  Pasubio  and 
the  Coni  Zugna  ridge  with  very  large  forces 
and  many  guns.  Pasubio  was  now  a  salient, 
for  the  Austrians  had  pushed  up  the.  Vallarsa 


towards  the  old  frontier  between  Pasubio  and 
Monte  di  Mezzo.  They  were  hurling  infantry 
attacks  tip  the  eastern  slopes  of  the  Coni 
Zugna-Cima  Mezzana  ridge,  and  it  was  clear 
that  even  more  determined  efforts  were  still 
to  come  both  here  and  at  Pasubio,  which  was 
under  a  very  heavy  bombardment.  The  troops 
that  had  withdrawn  to  the  south  of  the  Posina 
depended  absolutely  upon  Pasubio  standing 
fast,  and  if  any  serious  progress  were  to  be 
made  by  the  enemy  in  the  Vallarsa,  Pasubio 
was  gone. 

The  position  was  critical,  and  General 
Cadorna  had  to  contemplate  the  possibility  of 
the  Auitrians  reaching  the  Venetian  plain.  On 
the  morning  of  May  2 1  he  gave  the  order  to  draw 
up  plans  for  the  formation  of  a  new  Army,  to  be 
concentrated  in  the  Vicenza  district,  and  by 
midday  on  May  22  the  plans  were  finished  and 
approved  and  the  necessary  orders  given.  The 
formation  of  this  new  Army  will  be  described 
later  on  ;  for  the  moment  it  is  enough  to  say 
that  it  was  in  place,  and  ready,  by  June  2. 

But  meanwhile  things  were  going  badly  on  the 
Italian  right,  or  rather  on  the  right  of  the  centre, 
in  the  highlands  of  the  Sette  Comuni.  On  the 
extreme  right,  in  the  Val  Sugana  and  among 

107-3 


M 


THE    TIMES    HISTORY    OF    THE    WAR. 


the  hills  to  the  north,  the  Italians  had  retired 
slowly  and  methodically  to  the  positions  chosen 
on  the  hills  east  of  the  little  river  Maso,  which 
falls  into  the  Brent  a  near  Strigno.  They  had 
dealt  the  enemy  some  shrewd  blows  as  they 
retired.  But  by  May  24  the  Austrians  were 
pressing  hard  vipon  the  Italian  positions  to  the 
east  of  the  Yal  d'Assa.  On  the  following  day 
they  succeeded  in  advancing  to  the  north  of  the 
valley,  breaking  the  Portule  line  and  occupying 
the  height  of  Corno  di  Campo  Verde  (6,815  ft.). 
Owing  to  a  misunderstanding  the  Alpini  evacu- 
ated the  practically  impregnable  positions  of 
Cima  Undici  (7,140  ft.)  and  Cima  Dodici 
(7,610  ft.)  before  the  Austrians  attacked  ;  but 
the  mistake  was  of  little  consequence,  for  on 
May  26  the  Austrians,  attacking  to  the  east  of 
the  Val  d'Assa,  succeeded  in  driving  the  Italians 
back  from  the  whole  range  running  down  from 
Corno  di  Campo  Verde  to  Monte  Meatta, 
between  the  Val  d'Assa  and  the  Valle  di  Gal- 
marara.  Owing  to  this  success  of  the  enemy 
Cima  Undici  and  Cima  Dodici  would  have  had 
to  be  abandoned  in  any  case.  The  fighting  on 
May 26  was  very  stiff,  and  both  sides  lost  heavily, 
but  the  Italians  were  still  completely  outgunned. 
They  retired  across  the  Galmarara,  leaving 
behind  them  a  number  of  prisoners  who  were  cut 
off  from  retreat,  and  it  was  clear  already  that 
they  would  have  to  go  farther  still.  On  May  27 
the  enemy  crossed  the  lower  waters  of  the  Gal- 
marara torrent  and  occupied  part  of  Monte 
Mosciagh  (or  Moschicce).  A  very  fierce  struggle 
took  place  on  this  mountain  on  May  27  and  28. 
The  Italians  fought  very  stubbornly,  and  before 
they  finally  withdrew  farther  east  a  brilliant 
counter-attack  by  the  141st  Regiment  (Catan- 
zaro  brigade)  succeeded  in  bringing  away  two 
batteries  which  had  been  isolated. 

But  the  word  was  still  :  "  Go  back."  General 
Cadorna  required  time  for  the  assembling  of  his 
new  army,  and  General  Pecori-Uiraldi  had  to 
gain  it  for  his  chief.  He  had  to  hold  the  Aus- 
trians for  a  fixed  time,  but  he  had  always  to  be 
able  to  extricate  his  troops.  He  had  to  keep 
his  lines  intact  in  order  to  permit  the  formation 
of  the  new  lines  behind  him.  When  too  hard 
pressed  he  had  to  fall  back  as  long  as  there  were 
positions  left  for  him  to  fall  back  upon  ;  the 
time  had  not  yet  come  for  his  men  to  die  where 
they  stood  on  the  uplands  of  the  Sette  Comuni. 

On  the  left,  and  on  the  left  of  the  centre,  that 
time  had  already  come.  On  May  24,  after  a 
very  heavy  bombardment,  the  Austrians 
attacked  all  along  the  line  from  Coni  Zugna  to 


Pasubio.  They  came  forward  in  masses,  in  the 
early  morning,  against  both  sides  of  Coni  Zugna, 
against  the  Pass  that  divides  Coni  Zugna  from 
Cima  di  Mezzana — the  Passo  di  Buole — and 
against  Pasubio  ;  but  they  were  everywhere 
repulsed  with  heavy  loss.  Before  midday  they 
renewed  the  attack  against  Passo  di  Buole,  but 
were  again  flung  back,  and  the  Italians,  counter- 
attacking, occupied  the  position  of  Parmesan, 
south-east  of  the  Pass,  on  the  northern  slope  of 
Cima  di  Mezzana.  The  artillery  thundered  all 
day,  and  on  the  following  morning  the  enemy 
camo  again  to  the  assault,  in  compact  masses. 
A  brigade  which  was  sent  against  the  Passo  di 
Buole  was  literally  exterminated.  None  went 
back.  For  six  days  the  fighting  continued, 
practically  without  ceasing.  The  enemy  showed 
the  utmost  bravery,  but  nothing  could  shake 
the  resistance  of  the  37th  Division  (Sicilia  and 
Taro  brigades — 61st,  62nd,  207th,  208th  regi- 
ments) who  occupied  the  Zugna  ridge.  It  was 
old-fashioned  fighting,  except  for  the  guns,  for 
the  trenches  were  makeshift  affairs,  where  they 
existed  at  all,  and  when  the  enemy  approached 
the  Italians  leapt  at  them  with  the  bayonet. 
On  May  30  the  Austrians  made  their  last  attack 
in  mass  on  the  Passo  di  Buole.  Again  and 
again  they  came  up  the  slopes,  but  the  62nd  and 
207th  regiments,  who  held  the  Pass,  never  moved 
a  yard,  except  when  they  dashed  forward  to 
finish  their  work  with  the  bayonet.  On  this  day 
alone  it  is  calculated  that  7,000  Austrians  were 
killed,  and  during  the  six  days'  fighting  they  lost 
some  40  per  cent,  of  their  infantry  effectives  in 
this  sector.  After  their  failure  on  June  30  their 
efforts  slackened  and  their  methods  changed. 
They  came  forward  in  lines  instead  of  in  masses, 
and  it  almost  seemed  as  though  their  attacks 
were  rather  directed  to  keeping  the  Italians 
occupied  than  inspired  by  any  real  hope  of 
success.  Stubborn  fighting  still  went  on,  but 
the  fury  and  intensity  of  the  enemy's  onslaxight 
were  dulled. 

The  resistance  at  the  Passo  di  Buole  was  more 
than  a  splendid  feat  of  arms.  It  saved  Pasubio, 
and  on  the  fate  of  Pasubio  depended  the  fate  of 
the  Italian  line  south  of  the  Posina.  All  the 
weight  they  could  bring  to  bear  was  flung  by  the 
Austrians  against  this  bulwark.  For  weeks  the 
heavy  guns  thundered  against  the  Italian  posi- 
tions, and  wave  after  wave  of  massed  infantry 
was  dashed  to  pieces  against  those  granite  lines. 
The  Austrians  advanced  from  Col  Santo  along  the 
great  ridge  ;  they  came  up  from  the  Val  Terrag- 
nolo  by  the  Borcola  Pass,  from  Anghebeni  and 


ITALY'S    MOUNTAINEERS. 
Alpioi  scaling  the  rugged  mountain  sides  on  the  Austrian  front. 

95 


9G 


THE    TIMES     HISTORY  'OF    THE    WAR. 


ASPHYXIATING     GAS     CYLINDERS 
GRENADES 
Captured  by  the  Italians. 


AND 


Ohiesa  in  the  Vallarsa.  For  three  weeks  they 
outnumbered  the  Italians  by  four  to  one  in  this 
sector,  and  their  artillery  superiority  was 
immense,  as  all  a,long  the  front.  But  neither 
massed  men  nor  massed  guns,  nor  both  together, 
could  break  a  way  througn.  The  conditions 
were  terrible  for  both  sides,  for  in  May  and  June 
snow  still  lay  deep  on  the  high  ridges.  Italians 
and  Austrians  struggled  in  the  snow,  but  the 
Italians  had  also  to  sleep  in  the  snow,  and  there 
were  often  200  cases  of  frostbite  in  a  day.  The 
defenders  knew  the  immense  importance  of  their 
task.  They  knew  that  if  the  Pasubio  angle  were 
smashed  in  the  Austrians  would  almost  inevit- 
ably roll  up  the  Italian  line  south  of  the  Posina, 
and  find  two  good  open  roads  to  the  plain  by 
way  of  Valli  di  Signori,  while  the  Lower  Astico 
would  also  be  freed  for  the  enemy's  advance. 
They  knew  what  depended  upon  their  standing 
fast,  and  they  stood — stood  like  the  everlasting 
hills  upon  which  so  many  earned  a  glorious 
grave.  When  the  details  of  the  fighting  in  the 
Trentino  are  forgotten  by  all  save  those  who 
make  a  study  of  military  history,  Italians  will 
remember,  and  Italy's  Allies  should  remember, 
how  the  troops  on  Zugna  and  Pasubio  blocked 
the  advance  of  the  Austrian  right  and  so  held 
up  the  tide  of  invasion. 

It  lias  already  been  said  that  on  May  2-t 
the  Italians  had  practicallj'  completed  their 
withdrawal     from     the     region     between     the 


Posina  and  the  Astico  and  were  concentrating 
south  and  east,  respectively,  of  these  two 
streams.  On  the  same  day  the  Austrian 
artillery  opened  fire  from  the  positions  on  the 
Monte  Maggio-Campomolon  line,  from  which 
the  Italians  had  been  driven  five  days  before, 
and  the  infantry  were  already  pouring  down 
the  slopes  of  the  tilted  plateau.  On  May  25 
the  enemy  entered  the  hamlet  of  Bettale  on 
the  Upper  Posina,  and  occupied  the  south- 
eastern limb  of  the  Tonezza  plateau,  that 
rises  sheer-sided,  like  an  immense  battleship, 
between  the  Rio  Freddo  and  the  Astico,  and 
ends  in  the  peak  of  Monte  Cimone  (4,031  ft.), 
completely  dominating  the  Arsiero  basin. 
The  next  day  they  were  down  in  the  Astico 
valley  and  close  upon  Arsiero.  On  May  28 
the  Austrians  crossed  the  Posina  in  force,  and 
on  the  following  day  battle  was  joined  all  along 
the  slopes  to  the  south  of  the  stream.  Par- 
ticularly heavy  fighting  took  place  beneath 
Sogli  di  Campiglia  and  Pria  Fora  (5,415  ft.), 
and  the  Italians  fell  back  on  the  mountain  line, 
which  they  had  orders  to  hold  at  all  costs. 
This  line  ran  from  Forni  Alti  (the  extreme 
eastern  section  of  the  Pasubio  massif)  by  the 
Colle  di  Xomo  (3,438  ft.),  Monte  Spin  (4,630  ft.), 
and  Malga  Vaccarezze  (4,730  ft.)  to  Pria  Fora  ; 
it  was  practically  the  last  line  of  defence  in 


P! 

1  ^1 

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koBi 

:?■'"*;■  •«.  -  <v'mtZ-::         ■  ''-■•"'   £ 

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^JS^H^H^^Hj 

IN    THE    TRENCHES. 
Firing  a  big  Italian  gun. 


THE    TIMES    HISTORY    OF    THE    WAR. 


97 


the  mountains.  Behind  Malga  Xomo  and 
Monte  Spin  lay  the  Val  Leogra.  Behind  Malga 
Vaccarezze  and  Pria  Fora  the  line  Monte 
Cogolo  (5,390  ft.),  Monte  Novegna  (5,046  ft.), 
and  Monte  Brazome  (4,028  ft.)  formed  the 
very  last  bulwark.  Beneath  lay  Sehio  and 
the  Venetian  plain. 

The  Italians  withdrew  from  the  valley  on 
the  evening  of  May  29,  and  the  troops  that 
were  ordered  to  occupy  Pria  Fora  lost  their 
way  in  the  dark.  Instead  of  reaching  the  main 
height  they  struck  too  far  to  the  south  and 
halted  on  Monte  Ciove,  the  ridge  that  runs 
towards  Novegna  and  Brazome.  When  dawn 
came  Pria  Fora  frowned  on  them  from  the 
north,  and  the  Austrians  were  in  possession. 
Pria  Fora  is  only  about  200  ft.  higher  than  the 
southern  ridge,  but  the  drop  is  almost  pre- 
cipitous, except  for  a  narrow  approach,  and  the 
enemy 'was  already  in  force,  having  come  up 
the  easy  northern  slopes.  A  desperate  attack 
failed  to  win  the  main  height  and  the  Italians 
were  thrown  back  on  Monte  Ciove. 

The  position  looked  bad.  Monte  Ciove 
lay  bare  to  the  Austrian  fire  from  Pria  Fora  as 
well  as  to  the  heavy  artillery  across  the  Posina, 
and  it  seemed  almost  untenable.  But  rein- 
forcements were  sent  up  and  the  order  was 
given   by  the   general   commanding   the   sector 


AN    ITALIAN    PATROL, 
With  machine  gun,   in  the  Trentino. 


ITALIAN    TRANSPORT 
In  a  Mountain  Pass. 

that  there  must  be  no  going  back.  June  1 
seemed  a  happy  date  for  the  Austrians.  Pria 
Fora  not  only  commanded  the  Italian  positions 
to  the  south  ;  it  looked  down  upon  the  Lower 
Astico  from  the  west,  and  Monte  Cengio  on  the 
other  side  of  the  valley  was  already  threatened 
by  the  troops  coming  down  the  Upper  Astico. 
Punta  Corbin  had  been  evacuated  by  the 
Italians  two  days  before,  and  the  enemy  were 
spreading  over  the  south-western  corner  of 
the  Asiago  plateau,  north-east  of  Arsiero. 
On  June  1  the  Austrian  Command  issued  an 
Army  Order  to  the  troops  in  the  Posina  sector, 
saymg  that  only  one  mountain  remained 
between  them  and  the  plain. 

The  Italian  line  ran  across  the  Lower  Astico, 
just  below  Arsiero  from  Monte  Brazome  by 
Quaro,  Velo  dAstico,  Seghe,  and  Schiri  to  the 
slopes  of  Monte  Cengio,  and  here,  too,  the  fight 
was  soon  raging,  only  four  miles  from  where 
the  valley  gives  on  to  the  Vincentine  plain. 
On  June  1  a  furious  storm  of  shells  was  hurled 
against  the  whole  Italian  line  from  Colle  di 
Xomo  to  Rocchette,  at  the  entrance  to  the 
plain,  and  determined  infantry  attacks  were 
delivered  against  Monte  Spin  and  the  Seghe - 
Schiri  line.  They  were  thrown  back  with 
heavy  loss.     The  Italian  artillery,  particularly 


9S 


THE     TIMES    HISTORY    OF    THE    WAE. 


the  field  artillery,  had  been  strongly  reinforced, 
and  shrapnel  fire  wrought  havoc  among  the 
dense  columns  of  the  enemy.  But  Cengio  was 
being  hard  pressed  from  the  north,  where  the 
Austrians  occupied  Monte  Barco. 

In  the  Sette  Comuni  the  Italians  were  still 
falling  back.  Asiago  had  been  evacuated  on 
May  28.  and  the  retirement  across  the  Gal- 
marara  was  followed  by  a  further  retreat  across 
the  parallel  valleys  of  Xos  and  Campomulo, 
the  Austrians  occupying  Monte  Baldo  (5,450  ft.) 
and  Monte  Fiara  (5,815  ft.)  on  May  30,  though 
the  Alpini  still  retained  a  footing  on  the  latter 
mountain.  Farther  north,  on  June  1,  the  enemy 
advanced  eastwards  from  Monte  Mandrielle 
(5,100  ft.)  on  to  Austrian  territory.  The  move 
sounds  peculiar,  but  it  is  explained  by  the 
fact  that  here  they  entered  one  of  the  strategical 
wedges  secured  by  the  frontier  of  1866 — a 
wedge  thrust  forward  down  the  Brenta.  The 
enemy  were  now  less  than  four  miles  from  the 
Val  Sugana.  at  a  point  well  behind  the  Italian 
main  line  of  defence  in  that  valley.  But  com- 
munications were  bad  in  this  region,  and  they 
were  to  make  little  more  progress  here.  Nor 
was  the  Graz  Army  Corps,  which  had  pushed 
back  the  Italians  across  the  Val  Campomulo, 
to  gain  many  further  laurels. 

More  to  the  south,  however,  the  position 
still  seemed  critical  for  the  Italians.  Des- 
perate fighting  was  going  on  below  Asiago. 
A  brigade  of  Sardinian  Grenadiers  was  clinging 
to  Monte  Cengio,  attacked  from  north  and 
west,  and  on  the  plateau  to  the  north-east,  a 
little  west  of  the  steam-tramway  iine  that 
runs  to  Asiago  from  the  plain,  the  hill  of  Bel- 
monte  was  taken  and  retaken  several  times. 
It  seemed  as  though  the  Italians  must  be 
driven  eastward  across  the  Val  Canaglia,  as, 
indeed,  they  were  on  Juno  3,  but  on  that  very- 
day  General  Cadorna  announced  that  the 
Austrian  offensive  had  been  stopped  all  along 
the  line.  His  new  Army  was  ready,  and  he 
had  taken  the  measure  of  the  enemy.  A 
fortnight's  heavy  fighting  had  shown  him  that 
his  troops  and  their  leaders  could  do  what  he 
asked  them,  and  he  expressed  his  confidence 
in  them  by  the  communique  which  he  issued  to 
the  world.  There  were  many  days'  bitter 
defensive  fighting  in  front  of  the  Italians. 
They  were  still  to  fall  back  a  little  way  in  the 
Sette  Comuni,  but  no  position  of  first-class 
importance  was  to  be  lost.  Where  they  with- 
drew there  was  ample  room  for  retreat,  and  it 
was    now    General    Cadorna's    game    to    draw 


and    hold    the    enemy   well    inside   the   salient 
that  their  great  drive  had  made. 

The  southern  ha'f  of  the  final  line,  from 
which  there  was  to  be  no  withdrawal,  has 
already  been  indicated.  It  ran  from  Zugna  to 
Pasubio,  thence  eastwards  to  the  Val  d'Astico, 
crossing  the  valley  near  Velo  d'Astico  ;  thence 
bending  backwards  to  east  of  the  Val  Cana- 
glia. Here  it  ascended  the  rim  of  the  Asiago 
plateau  and  ran  by  Monte  Pan  (4,515  ft.)  and 
Magnaboschi  (4,420  ft.),  south  of  the  Asiago 
basin,  to  the  Val  Frenzela  ;  thence  north-east- 
wards to  Monte  Lisser  (5,310  ft.).  From  here 
the  line  turned  north-westward,  along  the 
edge  of  the  high,  bleak  tableland  that  drops 
to  the  Val  Sugana,  to  beneath  the  line  that  the 
enemy  had  established  along  the  frontier  peaks. 
In  tracing  this  line  General  Cadorna  had  issued 
the  following  Army  Order  :  "  Remember  that 
here  we  defend  the  soil  of  our  country  and  the 
honour  of  the  Army.  These  positions  are  to 
be  defended  to  the  death."  His  troops  did 
not  fail  him.  and  while  they  stood  and  died  he 
prepared  his  counter-stroke. 

The  Fifth  Army  was  assembled  on  the  plain, 
complete  in  all  its  details,  by  J\me  2,  exactly 
ten  days  after  the  order  for  its  formation  was 
given.  Great  reserves  had  been  concentrated 
in  the  war  zone  ;  between  the  Tagliamento 
and  the  Isonzo  in  readiness  for  the  offensive 
that  was  being  prepared  against  Gorizia  and 
the  Carso  ;  east  of  the  Tagliamento,  on  central 
positions  that  allowed  a  quick  move  to  any  part 
of  the  front ;  and  in  the  permanent  depots  of 
the  north.  By  the  night  of  May  22  the  whole 
of  the  Venetian  plain  was  amove  with  troops 
and  their  transport — the  immense  transport 
required  by  modern  war.  In  10  days  more 
than  half  a  million  men,  with  guns,  ammunition, 
and  provisions,  with  countless  motor  camions 
and  endless  trains  of  mule-transport,  were 
ready  in  the  plain  to  meet  the  enemy.  It  was 
a  magnificent  feat  of  organization  and  energy. 

But  by  June  2  General  Cadorna  knew  that 
the  enemy  would  never  reach  the  plain,  if, 
indeed,  that  was  their  real  objective.  In 
addition  to  forming  the  Fifth  Army  he  had 
been  able  to  draw  on  other  reserves  to  reinforce 
the  lengthening  line  in  the  uplands,  and  fill  the 
gaps.  For  days  the  wonderful  motor  transport 
of  the  Italians  was  moving  men  and  machine- 
guns  and  ammunition  up  to  the  mountains, 
while  behind  them,  more  slowly,  came  artil- 
lery,  and  more  artillery.     The  most  amazing 


THE    TIMES    HISTORY    OF    THE    WAR. 


99 


Fact,  or  at  least  the  most  spectacular,  was  the 
transference  of  an  entire  division  by  motor,  in 
a  single  night,  from  the  Carnic  Alps  to  the 
Pasubio  district.  These  reinforcements  were 
enough  to  hold  the  enemy,  and  the  duty  of  the 
Fifth  Army  became  offensive,  not  defensive. 

On  June  2  the  Fifth  Army  was  ready  in  the 
plain,  but  to  prepare  the  forward  move  took 
10  days  more.  The  difficulties  of  transport 
were  enormous.  The  Asiago  plateau  in  par- 
ticular is  very  scantily  supplied  with  water. 
The  troops  already  there  had  suffered  much 
from  thirst,  and  it  was  essential  to  assure  an 
adequate  water  supply  for  the  greatly-mcreast  < 
forces  which  were  soon  to  be  thrown  against 
the  Austrian*.  And  new  roads  had  to  be  made 
for  transport,  or  old  tracks  widened,  for  the 
existing  roads  would  not  serve  General  Cadoma's 
purpose.  This  purpose  was  to  take  the  enemy 
on  both  flanks — to  come  up  to  the  Asiago 
plateau  on  the  right,  and  drive  at  Col  Santo 
on  the  left.  The  plan  required  minute  and 
careful  preparation,  and  during  the  interval 
between  plan  and  action  the  Austrians  ham- 
mered unceasingly  at  the  Pasubio,  Posina, 
Astico  and  Asiago  lines. 


For  fifteen  days  the  fighting  in  the  Posina 
sector  was  heavy  and  continuous.  Every 
morning  the  Austrian  guns  opened  fire  at  6.30 
precisely,  and  the  bombardment  never  ceased 
as  long  as  daylight  lasted.  On  June  2,  3  and 
4,  the  enemy  delivered  massed  infantry  attacks 


ITALIAN    CAVALRY    PATROL    IN    THE    MOUNTAINS. 
Top  picture:  An  officer  studying  the  surrounding  country. 


100 


THE    TIMES    HISTORY    OF    THE    WAR. 


101 


■on  various   parts  of  the  front,  from  Colle  di 
Xomo  to  Sohiri  in  the  Astico  valley,  but  they 
were  unsuccessful  everywhere.     On  the  night 
of  June  4-5,  while  a  violent  storm  was  raging, 
a  furious   attack   was   thrown   against   Monte 
Ciove    and    Monte    Brazome,  supported  by   a 
hail    of    shells.     The    Italians    never    moved, 
though   they   were   very   highly   tried,   and   a 
similar  attack  on  the  night  of  June  5  had  a 
similar    result.     The    next    three    days    were 
quieter,  and  on  June  9  the  Italians  were  able 
to   push   forward   a   little   and   improve   their 
positions  in  the  Monte  Novegna  sector  of  the 
line.     June    10    and    11    were    comparatively 
qviiet   days,  but  a  terri6c  bombardment  began 
on   June    12,   and   the   Austrians  attacked  all 
along  the  line.     Their  efforts  were  especially 
directed  against  Monte  Ciove,  and  at  one  time  it 
seemed  as  though  the   position  could  not  be 
held.     It   was   swept   and   torn   by   shell,   the 
enemy    were    advancing    in    mass,    and    the 
brigadier  in  command  sent  back  word  that  the 
pressure   was   likely   to   be   too   strong.      The 
reply  of  the  general  commanding  the  sector  was 
stern  and  peremptory,  and  it  had  the  necessary 
effect.      But    they    were    anxious    hours.     All 
telephonic  communications  had  been  destroyed 
by  the  storm  of  shells.    Nearly  all  the  divisional 
staff  were   killed  or  wounded  by  an  unlucky 
direct  hit.     Orders   had  to   be   given  entirely 
by     megaphone     or     bugle.     Battalions     and 
regiments  had  all  but  passed  out  of  the  general's 
direction,  and  he  could  only  trust  to  officers 
and  men  fulfilling  his  orders  to  stand  fast.    His 
orders  were  obeyed,  and  at  nightfall  the  Aus- 
trians retreated. 

Next  morning,  under  cover  of  the  usual  bom- 
bardment all  along  the  line,  the  Austrians 
made  one  more  attempt  upon  Monte  Ciove. 
About  11  o'clock,  after  a  furious  preliminary 
shelling,  they  lifted  their  fire  to  the  rear  of  the 
Italian  positions  and  launched  a  powerful 
infantry  attack.  Nearly  all  the  Italian  officers 
were  put  out  of  action,  and  it  was  almost  im- 
possible to  get  supporting  troops  through  the 
curtain  fire.  The  general  could  not  see  how 
the  defence  was  going,  so  a  colonel  of  the  staff 
climbed  to  a  point  of  vantage  and  called  through 
a  megaphone  to  his  waiting  chief.  His  voice 
came  through  a  lull  in  the  storm  of  fire  :  "  They 
are  holding  marvellously."  They  did  not 
cease  to  hold,  and  at  3  o'clock  the  Austrians 
fell  back.  That  evening  the  Cag'.iari  brigade 
(63rd  and  64th  regiments),  which  had  held 
Monte  Ciove  so  gallantly   was  relieved  by  rein- 


forcements which  had  arrived  the  previous 
night.  The  brigade  came  out  of  action  with 
only  30  per  cent,  of  its  original  strength.  It 
had  lost  4,000  men  on  Monte  Ciove. 

Further  attacks  were  made  on  Monte  Brazome 
early  in  the  morning  of  June  14,  and  again  on 
the  evening  of  the  same  day.  They  were  easily 
repulsed,  and  it  was  now  clear  that  the  Austrian 
bolt  was  shot.  Even  the  daily  bombardment 
was  soon  to  slacken,  and  on  the  evening  of 
June  23  the  12-inch  shell  in  the  direction  of 
divisional  headquarters,  which  had  always 
closed  the  day's  work,  came  over  for  the  last 
time. 

Meanwhile  a  desperate  struggle  had  been 
going  on  in  the  Sette  Comuni,  particularly  on 
that  part  of  the  plateau  which  lies  to  the  south 
of  the  Asiago  basin.  On  the  night  of  June  3 
the  Austrians,  attacking  in  greatly  superior 
force,  drove  the  Sardinian  Grenadiers  off  Monte 
Angio,  but  not  until  the  brigade  had  lost  far 
more  than  half  its  effectives.  They  retreated 
across  the  Val  Canaglia,  but  the  Italians  still 
held  the  south-western  slopes  of  Cengio,  above 
Schiri,  and  on  the  following  day  they  gained 
some  ground  in  this  direction.  An  attempt  to 
retake  the  mountain  failed,  however,  and  the 
Austrian  pressure  grew  very  heavy,  both  here 
and  to  the  north.  There  were  two  danger- 
points  :  the  uplands  between  the  lower  Astico 
and  the  Asiago  basin,  and  the  head  of  the  Val 
Frenzela,  where  the  Austrians  were  little  more 
than  three  miles  from  Valstagua,  low  down  in 
tho  Brenta  valley. 

From  June  4  to  June  8  a  long  and  stubborn 
battle  took  place  on  the  line  running  east  of 
the  Valle  di  Campomulo  to  the  head  of  the  Val 
Frenzela.  The  Austrian  losses  were  enormous, 
and  they  were  driven  back  repeatedly,  but  on 
the  evening  of  June  8  the  Italians  retired  a 
short  distance  to  the  eastward,  leaving  the 
summit  of  Castelgonberto  (5,928  feet)  in  the 
hands  of  the  enemy.  At  this  point  the  Aus- 
trians now  came  under  direct  fire  from  Monte 
Lisser,  and  the  limit  of  their  advance  was  reached. 
Masses  of  artillery  were  now  being  placed  in  the 
Monte  Lisser  sector,  reinforcements  were 
arriving  daily,  and  the  preparations  for  the 
Italian  counter-offensive  were  well  under  way. 
Persistent  artillery  duels  followed,  but  the 
enemy  made  no  further  infantry  attacks. 

South  of  Asiago  the  Austrian  effort  was  more 
prolonged  and  more  violent.  On  the  evening 
of  June  6  a  furious  attack  was  delivered  on 
the    Italian    positions.     The    battle    raged    all 


102 


THE     TIMES    HISTORY    OF    THE    WAR. 


ITALIAN     INFANTRYMEN 
Carrying  anti-aircraft  guns. 

night,  and  the  enemy  were  driven  back,  but  on 
the  following  afternoon  they  came  again,  only 
to  be  repulsed  once  more.  They  had,  however, 
gamed  a  footing  on  Monte  Lemerle,  and  two 
days  later  the  Italians  were  driven  off  their 
positions  on  the  summit  of  the  mountain.  But 
the  Forli  brigade  (43rd  and  44th  regiments), 
which  remained  on  the  south-eastern  slopes  of 
Lemerle,  jdelded  no  more  ground.  They  were 
attacked  by  greatly  superior  forces  on  June  10, 
but  they  did  not  move  until  the  moment  came 
for  a  bayonet  charge,  when  they  counter- 
attacked and  scattered  the  Austrians,  pursuing 
them  for  some  distance  before  returning  to 
their  positions.  From  June  f)  to  June  15  they 
were  subjected  to  repeated  attacks  and  un- 
ceasing artillery  fire,  but,  magnificently  sup- 
ported by  the  new  field  guns  which  had  now 
been  put  in  position,  they  defeated  every  at- 
tempt to  overcome  their  resistance.  On  June 
15  they  were  reinforced  by  the  149th  regiment, 
and  at  5.30  p.m.  their  brigadier  sent  them  for- 
ward in  an  irresistible  rush  which  captured  the 
summit   of   Lemerle.     A   counter-attack   came 


at  once,  but  was  repulsed.  Next  day  the 
enemy  attacked  again  and  again.  Late  in  the 
evening  they  swarmed  down  over  the  summit 
upon  the  Italian  positions,  which  had  been 
withdrawn  100  yards  for  the  sake  of  cover. 
The  defenders  feinted  a  retreat,  but  returned 
at  the  moment  when  the  Austrians  were  trium- 
phantly establishing  themselves  on  the  aban- 
doned line.  Nono  of  the  enemy  escaped.  On 
June  17  the  attacks  continued,  being  directed 
especially  on  the  line  between  Lemerle  and  Mag- 
naboschi.  The  Forli  brigade  lost  many  officers 
and  fell  back,  but  they  were  reinforced  by  the 
33rd  regiment,  and  their  positions  were  re- 
gained. A  further  desperate  onslaught  was 
made  on  June  18,  but  it  ended  in  failure.  The 
Austrian  situation  had  become  critical.  The 
enemy  had  realized  the  development  of  the 
Italian  counter-offensive,  and  they  staked 
everything  in  an  attempt  to  drive  a  wedge 
between  the  Lemerle-Magnaboschi  line  and  the 
positions  east  of  the  Val  Canaglia.  On  a  narrow 
front,  well  under  two  miles,  they  sent  in  an 
attacking  force  of  over  20  battalions  (the  43rd 
division,  the  24th  and  41st  infantry,  tho  20th 
and  22nd  Landwehr).  On  June  15  the  Austrian 
command  had  issued  an  army  order  to  the 
troops  saying  that  Lemerle  would  fall  in  two 
days,  and  that  afterwards  only  three  mountains 
lay  between  them  and  Milan.  But  in  the  four 
days'  fighting  they  did  not  gain  another  yard, 
and  the  attack  on  June  18  was  their  last  effort 
These  four  days  tried  the  Italians  very  highly. 
No  further  reinforcements  were  available  for 
the  moment,  and  the  Forli  brigade  suffered 
terrible  losses.  Only  their  indomitable  courage 
and  the  splendid  work  of  the  field  artillery 
saved  the  position. 

Farther  west,  on  the  Val  Canaglia  line,  the 
struggle  was  no  less  grim,  and  here  the  Liguria 
brigade  won  for  itself  a  glorious  name.  This 
brigade,  one  of  the  new  formations  created 
during  the  year  of  preparation,  was  territorially 
recruited  and  consisted  almost  entirely  of 
Genoese.  They'  were  stationed  at  an  angle 
where  the  Italian  line  bent  north-eastward  frcm 
the  Val  Canaglia  to  Magnaboschi  and  Lemerle. 
The  summit  of  Monte  Pau  lay  behind  them  to 
the  south,  and  to  the  west  and  north  the 
Austrian  positions  faced  them  in  a  curved  line, 
running  from  the  eastern  slope  of  Monte  Angio, 
by  Monte  Barco,  Panoccio  and  Belmonte  to 
Cesuna,  with  the  height  of  Busibollo  thrust 
forward  as  a  bastion  on  the  near  side  of  the 
road,  and  the  steam-tramway  line  running  up 


THE    TIMES    HISTOBY    OF    THE    WAR. 


103 


the  Val  Canalgia.  The  point  they  held. 
Zovetta,  is  not  marked  save  on  the  largest-scale 
staff  maps,  but  it  is  a  shoulder  of  the  Monte 
Pau-Magnaboschi  range. 

When  the  Liguria  brigade  took  up  its  position 
bad  news  was  coming  in  both  from  north  and 
south.  The  Grenadiers  had  been  driven  off 
Cengio  ;  the  Austrians  soon  gained  a  footing  on 
Lemerle,  and  farther  to  the  north  Castelgom- 
berto  was  evacuated.  The  Genoese  of  the 
Liguria  brigade  were  first  attacked  in  force  on 
the  evening  of  June  6,  simultaneously  with  the 
attack  on  Lemerle.  They  were  heavily  engaged 
in  the  battle  of  June  10,  when  they  sviffered 
severely  from  artillery  fire.  The  Austrians  had 
nearly  200  guns  on  the  curved  line  described 
above,  and  the  greater  part  of  their  fire  was 
directed  against  the  Monte  Pau  positions.  The 
Italians  had  not  yet  placed  all  their  fresh  artil- 
lery, and  the  main  support  of  the  Genoese  was 
two  batteries  of  mountain  guns  on  Monte  Pau. 
Their  heaviest  trial,  like  that  of  their  com- 
rades of  the  Forli  brigade,  was  to  begin  on 
June  15.  On  that  day  and  the  two  following 
the  Austrian  infantry  attacked  in  force.  They 
were  able  to  concentrate  in  dead  ground,  pro- 
tected from  artillery  fire,  in  the  valley  beneath 


Zovetta,  and  their  attacks  were  persistent.  By 
this  time  the  Genoese  had  fallen  back  some 
150  yards  from  the  edge  of  the  hill,  to  a  road 
that  crossed  the  shoulder  from  the  north,  and 
here  they  waited  and  mowed  down  the  enemy 
as  they  came  over  the  brow  of  the  slope.  The 
defenders  suffered  very  severely.  After  one 
onslaught  had  been  repulsed  no  news  came  to 
brigade  headquarters  from  an  outlying  company 
on  the  right.  When  a  supporting  party  was 
sent  out  the  message  came  back  that  the  entire 
company  was  dead  or  disabled.  On  the  evening 
of  June  17  the  remnants  of  the  Liguria  brigade* 
were  replaced  by  fresh  troops,  but  no  further 
attack  was  to  come  from  the  enemy. 

The  next  few  days  saw  an  intense  artillery 
bombardment  from  both  sides,  and  all  along 
the  line  from  the  Adige  to  the  Brcnta  the 
Italians  were  beginning  to  test  the  ground  for 
an  advance.  The  Austrian  offensive  was  over. 
Three  out  of  the  four  reserve  divisions  concen- 
trated at  Trento  had  either  been  brought  already 

*  The  various  units  mentioned  by  name  in  this  brief 
account  are  far  from  exhausting  the  list  of  those  who 
greatly  distinguished  themselves.  They  have  been 
selected  by  the  writer  because  the  fighting  in  which  they 
earned  renown  was  specially  important  in  the  story  of 
the  Trentino  operations. 


ON    THE    LOOK-OUT. 
An  anti-aircraft  gun  sentry  in  winter  garb. 


a. 

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<: 


104 


THE     TIMES    HISTORY    OF    THE    WAR. 


105 


into  the  front  line  or  sent  in  haste  to  Galicia  ; 
the  fourth  division  was  formed  of  second-line 
troops,  of  doubtful  value,  and  there  was  no 
more  reinforcement  possible.  The  smashing 
blows  dealt  by  the  Russians  on  the  eastern  front 
showed  that  the  Trentino  attack  had  been  based 
on  a  very  grave  miscalculation,  and  instead  of 
being  able  to  bring  more  troops  against  Italy  the 
Austrian  command  had  now  to  study  the  pro- 
blem of  removing  a  part  of  those  which  were 
already  engaged. 

On  June  16  the  Italian  right  wing  had  made 
useful  progress.  The  Alpini  astonished  the 
enemy  by  climbing  the  steep  cliffs  of  Castelloni 
di  San  Marco  (6,033  ft.),  on  the  frontier  above 
the  Val  Sugana,  and  by  this  move  they  prepared 
tli3  way  for  the  occupation  of  Monte  Magari 
and  Malga  Fossetta,  positions  which  were  very 
strongly  held  by  two  infantry  regiments  (70th 
and  76th)  and  eight  battalions  of  Bosnian 
Feldjdger.  On  the  following  day  the  Alpini 
pushed  westward  and  captured  the  Cima  dTsi- 
doro  (6,270  ft.).  The  whole  right  wing  was  now 
moving  forward,  and  the  left  wing  was  also 
under  way,  in  the  Vallarsa  and  at  the  head  of 
the  Posina  valley.  Guns  and  men  were  massed 
on  the  Italian  centre.  The  time  had  nearly 
come  for  the  Austrians  to  go. 

For  a  week  the  Austrians  opposed  a  firm  re- 
sistance to  the  Italian  pressure,  but  on  June  25 
the  retreat  of  the  invaders  began.  Their  posi- 
tion was  becoming  untenable.  The  Alpini 
were  recapturing  the  high  peaks  on  the  right,  and 
on  the  left  Col  Santo  was  being  seriously  threa- 
tened. Attacking  on  June  25  the  Italians 
rapidly  occupied  the  Austrian  positions  imme- 
diately confronting  them.  They  met  only  a 
rearguard  resistance,  the  main  body  of  the  in- 
vaders being  in  full  retreat.  Within  three  days 
the  Italians  were  attacking  the  mountains  east 
of  the  upper  waters  of  the  Galmarara,  and  they 
had  already  occupied  Monte  Interrotto'  and 
Monte  Mosciagh,  to  the  north  of  Asiago.  Far- 
ther south  they  were  on  the  line  of  the  Assa,  as 
far  as  its  junction  with  the  Astico,  and  to  the 
west  they  had  crossed  the  Posina  and  were 
attacking  Monte  Majo.  In  the  Vallarsa  and 
Pasubio  sector  they  were  making  progress 
against  Col  Santo.  They  were  picking  up  a 
good  many  prisoners  and  machine-guns,  and 
finding  a  good  many  unburied  dead,  but  the 
Austrian  retreat  had  been  planned  and  was 
being  conducted  with  great  skill.  Above  all, 
the  guns  were  being  got  away.  General 
Cadorna's  counter-offensive  was  to  have  only 


partial  results,  for  the  enemy  realized  it  in  time. 
On  the  other  hand,  it  never  fully  developed  ; 
the  retreat  of  the  enemy  from  the  salient  they 
had  made  changed  the  circumstances,  and 
consequently  the  plan. 

The  line  that  the  Austrians  intended  to  hold 
was  clearly  indicated,  for  as  they  approached  it 
their  resistance  stiffened.  It  ran  from  Rovereto 
by  Col  Santo  to  Monte  Maggio  via  the  Borcola 
Pass ;  thence  along  the  rim  of  the  Arsiero 
plateau,  north  of  the  Posina  and  east  of  the 
Upper  Astico  ;  thence  across  the  Upper  Astico 
north  of  the  Assa  to  where  the  valley  turns  nort  h  - 
ward,  and  thence,  crossing  the  river,  by  Monte 
Meatta  and  the  Portule  line  to  the  frontier.  This 
was  an  immensely  strong  defensive  line,  backed 
as  it  was  by  the  heavy  guns  of  the  Folgaria  and 
Lavarone  plateaux,  and  everywhere  looking 
down  on  the  Italian  positions.  General  Ca- 
dorna  had  no  intention  of  letting  things  be  in  the 
Trentino.  It  was  his  business  to  keep  as  many 
Austrians  as  possible  pinned  on  the  line,  and  he 
worried  the  enemy  by  continual  strong  pushes 
on  various  parts  of  the  Trentino  front.  But  he 
had  equally  no  intention  of  knocking  his  head 
against  the  stone  wall  of  the  enemy's  lines,  and 
wasting  men  who  might  be  better  employed 
elsewhere.  At  three  points  only  he  hastened  to 
press  the  attack  home — east  of  tlie  Galmarara, 
Monte  Cimone  (immediately  north  of  Arsiero) 
and  in  the  Pasubio  sector.  In  each  case  the 
attacking  troops  were  successful.  The  east  side 
of  the  Galmarara  valley  was  solidly  occupied, 
Monte  Zebio  being  brilliantly  carried  by  the 
Sassari  Brigade  (151st  and  152nd  regiments) 
and  the  Bersaglieri.  the  Italian  lines  on  the 
Pasubio  massif  were  pushed  forward  so  as  to 
give  more  breathing-space  at  this  all -important 
position,  and  Monte  Cimone  was  taken.  The 
capture  of  this  peak  deserves  a  special  word .  Its 
position  and  formation  have  already  been  de- 
scribed, and  it  will  be  clear  that  it  was  an  ideal 
spot  to  defend.  Several  times  the  Italians 
endeavoured  to  climb  its  steep  sides,  both  from 
the  Rio  Freddo  and  the  Astico  valley,  but 
machine-gun  fire  mowed  them  down,  and  it 
seemed  impossible  to  reach  the  plateau.  •  As 
the  steep  sides  were  apparently  impracticable, 
it  was  resolved  to  give  the  Alpini  another  chance 
of  showing  their  special  qualities.  They  were 
sent  against  the  southern  end  of  Cimone,  a  wall 
of  rock  rising  350  feet  above  Monte  Caviojo,  a 
spur  already  occupied  by  the  Italians.  Before 
dawn  on  July  23  they  scaled  the  rock  face  by  the 
aid  of  ropes  and  after  a  long  and  bloody  struggle 


IOC 


THE    TIMES    HISTOBY    OF    THE    WAR. 


HAULING     A    FIELD    PIECE 
Under  a  roof  to  hide  the 

bombed  the  Austrians  off  the  summit.  The 
bombs  had.  to  be  passed  up  from  below  by  a 
chain  of  men,  roped  on  the  cliff.  By  the 
evening  they  had  extended  their  occupation  suf- 
ficiently to  cover  the  advance  of  the  infantry 
from  the  Rio  Freddo  and  the  Val  d'Astico,  who 
came  up  the  steep  paths  and  established  them- 
selves solidly  on  the  plateau  north  of  the  sum- 
mit. This  victory  took  from  the  Austrians  a 
very  tiseful  observatory,  and  gave  the  Italians  a 
firm  footing  on  the  Tonezza  plateau.  Farther 
west  they  were  firmly  entrenched  on  the  hills 
north  of  the  Posina.  They  had  occupied 
Monte  Majo  and  were,  threatening  Como 
del  Coston  and  the  Borcola  Pass.  And 
near  the  border  of  the  Trentino  and  Tirol 
a  new  movement  had  been  started  from 
the  Val  Cistron  and  the  Val  Pellegrino, 
which  threatened  the  Val  d'Avisio  and  the 
great  highway  that  runs  down  by  Cavalise 
to    the    Adige 

The  Italians  were  carrying  out  their  task 
very  successfully,  and  despite  all  their  efforts 
the  Austrians  had  not  been  able  to  detach 
more  than  three  divisions,  or  possibly  four,  to 
the  help  of  their  routed  armies  in  Galicia. 
The  Trentino  adventure  had  come  to  a  disas- 


TO    THE    FIRING-POINT— 
gun  from  enemy  airmen. 

trous  end.  The  invaders  had  inflicted  heavy 
losses  on  the  Italians,  both  in  men  and  guns, 
and  had  made  a  rapid  and  brilliant  advance 
on  to  Italian  soil.  But  they  had  not  the  neces- 
sary staying-power,  and  their  effort  died  out. 
They  lost  at  least  150,000  in  two  months' 
fighting,  and  though  they  were  better  placed 
strategically  than  before  their  offensive,  the 
price  they  had  paid  was  far  too  high  for  what 
they  gained.  It  might  perhaps  have  been 
worth  paying  if  it  could  have  paralysed  the 
Italian  preparations  for  a  big  movement  on 
the  Isonzo,  and  many  critics  consider  that  this 
was  the  real  purpose.  But  while  the  echoes 
of  the  heavy  guns  in  the  Trentino  were  still 
resounding,  General  Cadorna  smashed  through 
the  iron  fortresses  of  Sabotino,  Podgora  and 
San  Michele,  occupied  the  entire  western  seg- 
ment of  the  Carso,  and  drove  the  Austrians 
headlong  from  Gorizia. 

The  Italian  Army  won  immortal  honour  by 
its  resistance  in  the  Trentino,  and,  like  his 
troops,  their  leader  gained  laurels  that  will  not 
fade.  Yet  a  greater  title  to  renown  will  be 
that  he  could  dare  to  hold  back  the  invaders 
with  his  left  arm  and  keep  his  right  ready  for 
a  blow  elsewhere 


THE    TIMES    HISTORY    OF    THE    WAR. 


107 


When  the  Austrian  offensive  in  the  Trentino 
began  the  Italian  Parliament  was  not  sitting. 
It  was  not  until  June  ti  that  the  Chamber  of 
Deputies  reopened,  and  by  that  time  the 
advancing  tide  of  invasion  had  been  stemmed. 
Three  days  before,  General  Cadorna's  com- 
munique had  stated  that  the  Austrian  forward 
movement  had  been  definitely  arrested  along 
the  whole  front.  The  Government,  therefore, 
was  assured  of  a  more  favourable  reception 
than  it  would  have  had  a  fortnight  earner, 
when  the  issue  of  the  fighting  still  seemed  un- 
certain, and  many  people  feared  that  the 
enemy  might  win  their  way  to  the  Venetian 
plain.  But  it  was  generally  felt  that  the 
Cabinet  could  hardly  hope  to  escape  a  storm, 
for  the  conviction  was  widespread  that  the 
Austrian  successes  in  the  Trentino  were  due, 
in  part  at  least,  to  lack  of  foresight  and  pre- 
paration on  the  Italian  side. 

The  temper  of  the  Chamber  was  critical 
and  everything  depended  on  the  way  in  which 
the  deputies  were  handled.  In  point  of  fact, 
the  Salandra  Government,  and  particularly  the 
Premier  himself,  had  for  a  considerable  time 
been  losing  in  popularity.  So  far  back  as  the 
autumn  of   1915  it  had  been  said,  with  some 


justice,  that  Signor  Salandra  not  only  took  no 
trouble  to  keep  in  touch  with  the  leaders  of 
opinion  in  Parliament  and  in  the  country,  but 
seemed  actually  averse  from  contact  with  any- 
one outside  his  own  immediate  political  circle. 
This  attitude  of  extreme  reserve  was  under- 
stood and  appreciated  during  the  difficult 
period  of  Italian  neutrality,  and  at  the  moment 
of  Italy's  entry  into  the  war.  Signor  Salan- 
dra's  position  in  the  country  was  very  strong. 
Perhaps  he  reached  the  highest  point  of  his 
popularity  after  his  speech  at  the  Capitol  on 
Juno  2,  1915,  when  he  answered  the  attack 
made  upon  Italy  in  the  Reichstag  by  the 
German  Chancellor.  At  that  moment  Signor 
Salandra  held  a  place  in  the  political  life  of 
his  country  that  no  Italian  statesman  had 
occupied  since  Cavour.  It  lay  with  him 
whether  he  could  keep  that  place.  His  task 
was  not  easy.  Italian  public  opinion  is  difficult 
to  hold,  difficult  to  manage,  and  it  cannot  be 
ignored.  And  in  Parliament  his  position 
was  not  satisfactory.  His  Government  was 
formed  upon  a  narrow  and  not  too  stable 
foundation.  The  party  to  which  he  belonged, 
the  Liberals  of  the  Right,  counted  compara- 
tively few  votes  in  the  Chamber,  and  the  great 


AN    ITALIAN    TRENCH    IN   THE    MOUNTAINS. 
2,000  metres  high. 


108 


THE    TIMES    HISTORY    OF    THE    WAR. 


majority  of  the  deputies  wero  political  oppo- 
nents. The  Giolittians  had  voted  for  Italy's 
intervention  because  intervention  had  been 
clearly  demanded  by  the  country.  The  "  In- 
terventionists of  the  Left  " — Radicals,  Repub- 
licans and  Reformist  Socialists — who  had 
worked  unceasingly  for  war,  were  antagonistic 
to  Signor  Salandra  and  his  party  on  every 
question  save  that  of  the  part  that  Italy  should 
play  in  the  European  struggle. 

The  situation,  therefore,  required  specially 
skilful  handling.  To  assure  the  position  of  his 
Government  it  was  necessary  that  Signor 
Salandra  should  keep  in  close  touch  with 
feeling  in  the  country,  and  that  he  should  take 
steps  to  assure  the  support  of  those  who  were 
not  his  natural  political  allies  in  Parliament. 
The  first  task  was  one  which  is  the  duty  of  every 
politician  who  aspires  to  power  in  a  democratic 
country  ;  the  way  was  cleared  for  the  second 
by  the  special  circumstances  of  the  time. 
The,  name  of  Salandra  stood  for  Italy's  entry 
into  the  European  war,  and  the  adherents  of 
the  war  policy  were  ready  to  forget  all  domestic 
differences  and  lend  their  loyal  support  to  the 
man  who  had  led  Italy  in  the  great  choice. 
The  sympathy  of  the  Interventionist  Left  was 
increased  by  the  appointment  of  Signor  Bar- 
zilai  as  Minister  without  portfolio.  All  Italy 
approved  the  inclusion  in  the  Cabinet  of  the 
recognized  leader  of  the  Irredentist  movement, 
himself  a  native  of  Trieste,  as  a  symbol  of  the 
national  aspirations  which  should  be  fulfilled 
by  the  war  ;  but  to  the  Left  the  appointment 
was  especially  welcome.  Signor  Barzilai  had 
fought  many  parliamentary  battles  under  the 
Republican  flag,  and  though  he  had  ceased  to 
be  identified  with  a  party  which  seemed  now 
to  have  little  raison  d'etre  in  Italian  politics 
he  continued  to  be  one  of  the  leaders  of  "  the 
democracy "  in  the  Chamber.  His  inclusion 
in  the  Cabinet  stood  as  a  pledge  for  the  com- 
pletion of  national  unity,  but  it  was  also  taken 
as  a  recognition  of  the  part  played  by  the 
Interventionist  Left  in  arousing  Italian  opinion 
to  the  necessity  of  war. 

This  strengthened  Signor  Salandra's  parlia- 
mentary position,  but,  even  allowing  for  the 
assurance  of  added  support  to  the  Government, 
the  Giolittians  formed  a  maj  ority  in  the  Chamber. 
A  number  of  the  party,  including  their  leader, 
were  practically  vowed  to  enmity  against  the 
Government.  They  had  gone  altogether  too  far 
in  their  endeavours  to  preserve  Italian  neu- 
trality,   and,    incidentally,    to    regain    political 


power  for  themselves.  They  might  vote  for 
the  Government,  but  not  out  of  friendliness,  and 
they  could  as  little  have  dealings  with  the  man 
who  had  defeated  their  schemes  as  he  could 
have  dealings  with  them.  On  the  other  hand, 
there  were  many  members  of  Signor  Giolitti's 
majority  who  were  in  a  quite  different  position. 
They  had  played  no  part  in  the  backstairs 
negotiations  of  May,  1915,  and  most  of  them, 
probably,  gave  a  sincere  if  not  enthusiastic 
acquiescence  to  Signor  Salandra's  war  policy. 
They  felt  that  as  Italians  their  one  duty  was 
to  collaborate  in  the  work  of  pursuing  the  war 
with  the  utmost  vigour  and  bringing  it  to  a 
successful  conclusion.  Here,  too,  there  was  a 
chance  for  the  G  o vernment  to  win  solid  support, 
without  any  sacrifice  of  principle  or  dignity. 

The  tasks  that  confronted  Signor  Salandra, 
when  Italy's  decision  was  finally  taken,  required 
abilities  of  a  special  kind.  Above  all  they 
required  tact  and  the  gift  of  handling  men. 
Unfortunately  Signor  Salandra  was  not  able  to 
display  the  qualities  demanded  by  the  situation. 
With  Baron  Sonnino  at  his  right  hand  he  had 
guided  Italy  through  a  long  and  fateful  crisis. 
He  had  faced  and  overcome,  with  firmness  and 
skill,  the  most  exceptional  difficulties,  and  he 
had  won  a  remarkable  place  in  the  esteem  of 
his  countrymen.  He  was  to  fail  in  a  task  that 
seemed  much  less  intrinsically  difficult,  but 
called  for  gifts  which  he  could  not  bring  to  it. 
He  was  to  lose  a  great  personal  opportunity 
and  see  the  gradual  dwindling  of  the  popularity 
which  he  had  most  justly  earned. 

In  Italy  as  in  most  democratic  countries,  but 
perhaps  more  in  Italy  than  in  others,  the 
quality  of  souplesse  is  practically  essential  to 
permanent  political  success.  It  was  for  lack 
of  this  quality  that  Baron  Sonnino  had.  for  so 
long  failed  to  wield  the  influence  in  Italian 
political  life  to  which  his  abilities  and  character 
had  entitled  him.  He  had  shown  himself 
lacking  in  the  necessary  parliamentary  gifts. 
He  had  won  power  but  failed  to  hold  it,  and 
until  his  hour  came,  the  hour  so  fateful  for 
Italy's  future,  it  had  seemed  that  he  would 
never  have  the  chance  of  giving  to  his  country 
what  he  could  give.  The  chance  came  under  the 
leadership  of  the  man  who  had  been  his  close 
friend  and  political  ally  fol  30  years,  and 
had  served  as  his  lieutenant  in  two  Govern- 
ments. It  was  the  moment  that  gave  to  Baron 
Sonnino  the  opportunity  of  proving  himself, 
but  if  he  had  been  Premier  himself,  he  could 
never   have   carried    his   programme    through. 


THE    TIMES    HISTORY    OF    THE    WAR. 


109 


MOUNTAIN    WARFARE. 

Alpini   hauling  a   gun   up  a  mountain. 


And  he  could  hardly  have  done  his  work  under 
another  leader,  just  as  Signor  Salandra  could 
hardly  have  led  Italy  to  war  if  anyone  but  his 
old  chief  had  been  at  the  Consulta. 

During  the  period  of  Italy's  neutrality,  after 
the  death  of  the  Marquis  di  San  Giuliano,  the 
Salandra-Sonnino  combination  had  shown  itself 
specially  suited  to  the  circumstances.     Above 


all,  both  men  were  trusted.  They  were  known 
to  be  beyond  the  suspicion  of  intrigue,  and 
everyone  was  willing  to  admit  the  necessity  of 
reserve.  With  the  declaration  of  war  the 
situation  changed.  It  remained  to  be  seen 
whether  the  Government  could  adapt  itself  to 
the  new  circumstances. 

The    duty    of    adaptation    lay    with    Signor 


no 


THE    TIMES    HISTORY    OF    THE    WAR. 


ITALIAN    TROOPS 

Throwing  hand-grenades  into  an  enemy  trench. 

Salandra.  No  one  expected  Baron  Sonnino  to 
change  his  spots,  to  be  outspoken  with  the 
supporters  of  the  Government,  old  and  new,  or 
to  keep  in  touch  with  the  Press,  which  counts 
for  so  much  in  Italy.  It  was  hoped  that  this 
essential  part  of  the  Government's  duties  would 
be  performed  by  Signor  Salandra,  but  after  a 
few  months  it  began  to  be  said  that  he  was 
"  worse  than  Sonnino."  Before  Parliament 
met  on  December  1,  1915,  there  was  a  good  deal 
of  discontent,  which  was  no  doubt  accentuated 
by  the  fact  that  things  seemed  to  be  going 
badly  for  the  Allies.  It  would  not  have  been 
so  hard  to  be  patient  and  go  without  informa- 
tion if  the  progress  of  the  war  had  been  satis- 
factory, but  the  debacle  in  the  Balkans  made  a 
profound  impression  in  Italy,  and  men's  minds 
were  uneasy.  The  general  uneasiness  was 
accentuated  by  a  doubt  as  to  Italy's  exact 
position  in  the  Entente.  When  Italy  declared 
war  against  Austria,  the  Government  and  the 
country  expected  a  declaration  of  hostilities  on 
the  part  of  Germany  within  a  few  days.  Signor 
Salandra's  speech  at  the  Capitol  was  thought  to 
make  war  finally  inevitable,  but  still  Germany 
did  not  move.  Before  relations  were  broken 
off  with  Turkey,  on  August  21,  Naby  Bey,  the 
Turkish  Ambassador  in  Kome,  warned  Baron 
Sonnino  that  war  with  Turkey  meant  war  with 


Germany,  that  Germany  had  pledged  herself 
to  declare  war  on  Italy  if  Italy  declared  war  on 
Turkey.  Italy's  answer  to  this  warning  was 
an  immediate  declaration  of  hostilities,  but  the 
pledge  to  Turkey  had  no  more  value  than  any 
other  German  promise. 

When  Serbia  was  invaded  by  Germany, 
Austria  and  Bulgaria,  and  Italy  declared  war 
on  Bulgaria,  but  not  on  Germany,  Italian 
opinion,  and  the  opinion  of  Italy's  allies,  were 
further  puzzled.  The  grounds  of  the  declara- 
tion published  by  the  official  Stefani  Agency  on 
October  19,  1915,  seemed  rather  to  increase 
the  anomalous  nature  of  the  situation.  The 
official  statement  ran  as  follows  : 

"  Bulgaria  having  opened  hostilities  against 
Serbia,  and  having  allied  herself  with  Italy's 
enemies  to  fight  against  the  Allies,  the  Italian 
Government,  by  order  of  the  King,  has  declared 
a  state  of  war  to  exist  between  Italy  and 
Bulgaria." 

It  was  at  this  period  that  the  talk  began  to 
go  round  of  a  secret  agreement  between  Italy 
and  Germany,  signed  shortly  before  the  rupture 
of  diplomatic  relations  and  the  declaration  of 
war  against  Austria,  wmch  preserved  a  bridge 
between  the  two  countries,  and  provided  that 
they  should  not  come  to  open  aostilities. 
There  was  no  truth  whatever  in  this  suggestion, 
though  it  was  freely  made  by  some  who  ought 
to  have  known  better  than  to  lend  their  autho- 
rity to  the  rumour.  The  facts  were  available 
to  those  who  chose  to  apply  for  them,  and  the 
story  is  an  interesting  comment  on  the  way 
in  which  an  imposing,  if  shadowy,  edifice  can 
be  built  up  on  a  slender  foundation,  or  rather 
on  no  foundation  at  all.  A  special  agree- 
ment between  Italy  and  Germany  was  signed 
before  diplomatic  relations  were  broken  off, 
but  it  was  not  of  the  nature  insinuated.  When 
Italy's  intervention  was  certain  and  imminent, 
the  Italian  Government  proposed  both  to 
Germany  and  to  Austria-Hungary  that  in  the 
event  of  war  eacn  country  should  (1)  respect 
and  protect  all  private  property  belonging  to 
the  other's  subjects  within  its  own  borders 
and  (2)  should  permit  the  repatriation  of  the 
other's  subjects.  The  property  clause  was  to 
the  advantage  of  Austria-Hungary  and  Germany, 
both  of  whom  had  large  interests  in  Italy. 
The  clause  providing  for  the  departure  of  enemy 
subjects  was  to  protect  the  very  large  number 
of  Italians,  principally  of  the  working  classes, 
who  were  resident  in  Germany  or  Austria- 
Hungary.     The  Germans  and  Austrians  domi- 


THE    TIMES    HISTORY    OF    THE    WAR. 


Ill 


ciled  in  Italy,  who,  generally  speaking,  be- 
longed to  the  well-to-do  classes,  had  for  the 
most  part  left  Italy  before  the  rupture  of 
diplomatic  relations  became  imminent. 

Austria-Hungary  refused  the  Italian  pro- 
posal ;  Germany  accepted  it,  and  on  May  21, 
1915,  an  agreement  to  the  effect  indicated  was 
signed  by  the  German  Foreign  Secretary,  Herr 
von  Jagow,  and  the  Italian  Ambassador  in 
Berlin,  Signor  Bollati.  It  will  be  seen  that 
the  agreement  gives  no  grounds  whatever  for 
the  most  unjust  and  mischievous  suggestion 
that  Italy  was  endeavouring  to  keep  a  foot  in 
the  enemy's  camp.  The  agreement  was  in 
fact  little  more  than  an  attempt  to  re -affirm 
principles  which  had  seemed  to  be  well  estab- 
lished before  Germany  began  to  break  most  of  the 
rules  of  war  to  which  she  had  put  her  signature. 
The  two  important  points  about  it,  in  view  of 
the  gossip  to  which  its  existence  gave  rise,  are  : 

1.  The  terms  it  contained  were  offered  to 
Austria-Hungary,  upon  whom  Italy  was  about 
to  declare  war. 

2.  It  deliberately  provided  for  a  state  of 
war  between  Italy  and  Germany. 

The  story  of  a  secret  agreement  was  entirely 
unfounded,  and  it  was  at  length  definitely 
contradicted  by  Signor  Barzilai,  in  an  inter- 


view given  in  February,  1916,  but  the  fact 
that  it  was  started,  and  repeated,  and  half 
believed  even  by  many  Italians,  shows  how 
Italy's  position  was  compromised  by  the 
absence  of  a  formal  declaration  of  war  from  or 
against  Germany. 

It  has  already  been  said  that  the  omission 
to  ta,ke  the  opportunity  of  the  attack  upon 
Serbia  increased  the  confusion  both  of 
Italian  and  Allied  opinion.  Some  months 
later,  when  the  question  was  again  arousing 
lively  discussion  in  Italy,  Signor  Bissolati 
stated  in  the  course  of  a  conversation  that 
the  Government  had  missed  an  excellent 
chance  of  regularizing  the  position,  but  comment 
was  silenced  for  a  little,  in  Italy  at  least,  by  the 
announcement  that  Italy  had  adhered  to  the 
Pact  of  London,*  which  pledged  its  signatories 
not  to  conclude  a  separate  peace.  This  an- 
nouncement was  made  by  Baron  Sonnino,  in 
the  Chamber  of  Deputies,  on  December  1, 
1915,  the  opening  day  of  the  short  winter 
session,  and  it  was  then  stated  that  Italy's 
signature  had  been  affixed  to  the  Pact  the  day 
before.     It  is  understood,  however,  that  Italy 

*  The  original  declaration  was  signed  in  London  in 
September,  1914,  by  Great  Britain,  France  and  Russia, 
ana  Japan  adhered  to  the  agreement  a  year  later. 


A    WELL-CONSTRUCTED    SHELTER:    ITALIAN    "DUG-OUT." 


112 


THE    TIMES    HISTORY    OF    THE    WAR. 


had  given  formal  assurances  of  her  adhesion 
some  time  previously,  and  Signor  Orlando, 
Minister  of  Justice,  had  prepared  public 
opinion  for  Baron  Sonnino's  statement  in  an 
important  speech  delivered  at  Palermo  on 
November  20.  In  the  course  of  that  speech 
Signor  Orlando  had  emphasized  the  impossi- 
bility of  an  "  isolated  peace,"  and  had  already 
dashed  the  hopes  of  those  few  Italians  who 
thought  that  Italy  ought  to  confine  herself  to 
what  had  been  called  contemptuously  "  a 
narrow-gauge  war." 

It  was  not  long  before  the  Government  began 
to  come  in  for  fresh  criticism.  By  this  time 
it  was  well  understood  that  Signor  Salandra 
was  not  likely  to  modify  his  attitude  of  reserve. 
And  a  number  of  charges  were  accumulating 
against  the  Government,  most  of  which,  no 
doubt,  admitted  of  an  excellent  answer,  but 
to  which  no  adequate  answer  was  given. 
Italy,  like  other  countries,  was  slow  to  realize 
the  extent  of  her  munition  requirements.  It 
began  to  be  known  that  it  was  largely  owing 
to  lack  of  sufficient  artillery  preparation  and 
support  that  the  Italian  attacks  on  the  Isonzo 
had  not  succeeded  in  Ijreaking  the  Austrian 
lines.  Critics  were  quite  well  prepared  to 
excuse  a  shortage  of  guns  and  shells,  if  they 
felt  that  every  effort  had  been  made  to  furnish 
an  adequate  supplj'.  It  was  on  this  point 
that  there  was  a  sense  of  uncertainty.  Those 
who  had  to  provide  the  shells  showed  an  undue 
complacence  regarding  the  output  which  per- 
haps they  did  not  feel,  but  the  effect  was 
imfortunate.  At  the  front,  at  least,  there 
were  no  illusions.  When  a  representative  of 
the  Munitions  Department  gave  the  assurance 
that  there  was  an  "  abundance  "  of  shells,  he 
received  the  true  and  only  answer  to  his  easy 
optimism:  "There  is  never  abundance." 
Here  was  the  point.  Italy  had  certainly  done 
marvels  in  the  way  of  military  preparation. 
The  danger  was  lest  it  should  be  thought 
enough  to  have  done  marvels. 

Over  the  question  of  munitions  the  Govern- 
ment began  to  be  accused  of  lack  of  forethought, 
and  similar  accusations  began  to  be  made  in 
regard  to  other  deficiencies  which  were  making 
themselves  felt.  The  question  of  the  supply 
of  coal  and  grain  was  becoming  acute,  owing 
to  the  shortage  of  shipping  and  the  ever- 
increasing  price  of  freight.  It  was  asserted 
that  the  Government  had  shown  a  lack  of 
foresight  in  regard  to  these  problems,  and  of 
energy    in    dealing    with    them.      Not    all    the 


criticisms  were  justified,  but  some  were  fair 
enough,  and  the  situation  was  made  worse  by 
the  isolation  of  the  Government  from  the 
leaders  of  public  opinion,  which  forbade  dis- 
cussion and  explanation. 

The  short  winter  session  (the  Chamber  sat 
from  December  1  to  December  13,  and  the 
debates  in  the  Senate  lasted  only  three  days, 
from  December  15  to  December  17)  had  not 
given  much  chance  to  those  who  desired  fuller 
information  on  the  various  points  that  had 
begun  to  trouble  public  opinion.  The  Chamber 
was  not  to  reopen  till  March  1,  so  that  during  a 
period  of  more  than  11  months,  except  for 
the  historic  single-day  sitting  on  May  20,  1915, 
the  elected  representatives  of  the  nation  had 
only  a  fortnight  for  parliamentary  discussion  of 
the  situation  and  its  problems.  This  would 
not  have  mattered — many  people  w:ere  against 
parliamentary  discussion  altogether — if  the 
Ministry  had  in  the  interval  maintained  a 
reasonable  contact  with  its  supporters.  No  such 
contact  was  maintained,  and  public  opinion 
soon  began  to  be  restless  again.  The  Inter- 
ventionists of  the  Left  were  particularly  dis- 
satisfied. They  thought  with  some  justice  that 
the  part  they  had  played  before  the  war  entitled 
them  to  consideration,  and  they  were  specially 
concerned  over  the  question  of  munitions. 
Moreover,  they  were  still  uneasy  in  regard  to 
Germany.  The  adhesion  to  the  Pact  of  London 
had  satisfied  them  for  the  moment,  but  on 
reflection  it  did  not  seem  sufficient.  Almost 
from  the  first  they  had  regarded  Germany  as  the 
principal  enemy,  and  they  realized  clearly  that 
the  absence  of  a  declaration  of  war  put  Italy  in  a 
false  position.  By  a.  Government  decree  dated 
November  3,  1915,  Italy  had  requisitioned  all 
German  ships  in  Italian  ports,  deferring  pay- 
ment "  till  after  the  war,"  and  at  the  beginning 
of  February  a  further  decree  was  published  for- 
bidding all  trade  between  Germany  and  Italy, 
direct  or  indirect.  But  these  measures  did  not 
satisfy  those  who  felt  that  the  situation  must  be 
cleared  of  every  kind  of  apparent  ambiguity. 

Early  in  February  Signor  Salandra  went  to 
Turin,  where  he  delivered  several  speeches.  In 
one  of  these  he  made  what  must  be  considered 
a  serious  error  in  tact,  by  claiming  for  the  party 
to  which  he  belonged  the  credit  of  having  led 
Italy  to  war  in  defence  of  her  rights.  This 
claim  was  resented  by  the  Interventionists  of 
the  Left,  and  matters  were  made  worse  by  the 
suggestion  of  a  Turin  deputy  (the  Parliamen- 
tary correspondent  of  the  Gazzella  del  Popolo) 


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ITAIIAN    TROOPS    MINING    AUSTRIAN    TRENCHES    ON    THE    ISONZO    FRONT. 

113 


114 


THE    TIMES    HISTORY    OF    THE    WAR. 


that  their  resentment  was  due  to  their  wish  for 
Signer  Bissolati's  inclusion  in  the  Cabinet. 
Tins  was  an  unfair  criticism.  The  object  of  the 
malcontents  was  not  power,  though  they  did 
desire  to  see  Signor  Bissolati,  and  others  of  their 
number,  replace  certain  Ministers  who  they  con- 
sidered had  not  proved  equal  to  their  duties. 
They  wished  to  be  assured  that  the  war  would 
be  conducted  with  every  possible  energy,  and 
they  believed  that  the  best  guarantee  for  their 
aims  was  the  infusion  of  fresh  blood  into  the 
Cabinet.  An  interview  granted  by  Signor 
Salandra  to  the  Deputy  mentioned  above, 
Signor  Bevione,  did  not  mend  matters.  Signor 
Salandra  declared  that  political  crises  must 
always  be  resolved  in  Parliament,  but  that 
neither  newspapers,  nor  political  groups,  nor 
even  a  Parliamentary  majority,  could  compel 
the  Premier  to  discard  some  of  his  colleagues 
and  appoint  new  Ministers.  This  seemed  a 
direct  challenge  to  those  who  hoped  for  a  recon- 
struction of  the  Ministry,  and  on  February  9 
a  memorial  was  sent  to  Signor  Salandra  by  the 
representatives  of  the  Interventionists  of  the 
Left  and  the  Nationalists.  The  memorial  stated 
that  the  Interventionist  groups  had  given  the 
fullest  support  to  the  Government,  but  that 
they  felt  it  their  special  duty,  as  advocates  of 
the  war,  to  draw  attention  to  what  they  con- 
sidered the  shortcomings  of  those  who  were 
directing  the  policy  and  actions  of  Italy.  These 
alleged  shortcomings  have  already  been  indi- 
cated, and  need  not  be  repeated  here.  Signor 
Salandra  replied  the  following  day,  in  20  words, 
promising  that  the  memorial  would  have 
all  his  attention,  but  no  further  answer  was 
received.  Further  discussion  was  delayed  by 
M.  Briand's  visit  to  Rome,  which  was  a.  symbol 
of  the  increased  solidarity  between  the  Allies, 
but  the  reopening  of  Parliament  was  awaited 
with  special  interest. 

The  spring  session  began  well  with  a  speech 
by  Signor  Bissolati  proposing  that  a  message 
should  be  sent  to  the  French  Chamber  expressing 
complete  unity  between  Italy  and  France.  He 
insisted  on  the  unanimity  of  the  Allies,  and 
declared  that  as  on  the  western  front  France 
and  England  were  righting  against  Austria- 
Hungary,  so  on  the  Isonzo  Italy  was  fighting 
against  Germany.  The  speech  was  received 
with  the  greatest  enthusiasm,  all  the  Deputies, 
except  the  official  Socialists,  rising  to  acclaim 
his  words  and  signify  their  agreement  with  the 
proposed  message.  But  stoims  were  soon  to 
come.     Within  a  week  Signor  Salandra  offended 


a  large  section  of  the  Chamber  by  the  manner  in 
which  he  refused  to  accept  a  proposal  to  divide 
the  House  on  an  unimportant  motion  brought 
forward   by   the   official   Socialists.      The   Ex- 
treme Left  were  certainly  displaying  an  attitude 
unworthy   of   the   times   and   had   given   much 
provocation,  but  unruly  behaviour  on  the  part 
of  the  Socialists  is  a  long  tradition  in  Italian 
politics,  and    no   Premier   can    afford    to    lose 
patience  with  the  Chamber.     Signor  Salandra 
did  lose  patience,  and  astonished  the  House  by 
tlireatening  an  appeal  to  the  Crown  if  Deputies 
continued  to  press  for  votes  on  all  occasions. 
The  Premier's  words  were  taken  by  all  the  Left 
as  indicating  a  lack  of  proper  respect  for  the 
rights  of  the  Chamber,  and  the  Interventionists 
who  had  hitherto  supported  him  seemed  to  re- 
sent what  they  termed  his   "  reactionary  atti- 
tude "   as  much  as  did  the    official  Socialists. 
It  was  from  this  date  that  the  movement  for  a 
National  Government,  which  had  hitherto  re- 
ceived   little    support,    began    to    gain   weight. 
Several  stormy  sittings  followed,  but  the  criti- 
cisms which  had  been  expected  from  the  Inter- 
ventionist   Left    were    not    well    defined.     An 
interview  between  the  Premier  and  Signor  Bisso- 
lati led  to  an  alteration  in  the  attitude  of  those 
who  were  working  with  the  latter,  and  it  seems 
clear  that  the  Reformist  leader  received  some 
assurance  as  to  the  position  of  Italy  in  regard  to 
Germany.     The  keynote  of  the  Interventionists' 
argument  had  hitherto  been  that  the  diplomatic 
situation  must  be  cleared  up.     Now  their  chief 
contention  was  that  the  Government  must  be 
reinforced,  so  as  to  represent  all  the  elements 
favourable    to    the    war.     The    debate    on    the 
Government's  economic  policy  brought  no  very 
satisfactory     statements     from     the     Ministers 
attacked,  and  before  the  division  an  event  of 
first-class  political  importance  took  place.     The 
Interventionist   groups   of   the    Left,   who   had 
been    acting    together    since    before    the    war, 
formally  joined  forces  under  the  leadership  of 
Signor    Bissolati,    and    constituted    themselves 
into  a  bloc  under  the  name  of  the  Democratic 
Alliance.     Speaking  on  the  eve  of  the  division 
in  the  name  of  the  140  members  who  constituted 
the  new  party,  Signor  Bissolati  declared  that  he 
and    his    friends    were    not    satisfied    with    the 
answers  given  to  the  critics  of  the  Government. 
He  said,   however,   that  they  were  convinced 
that  the  Cabinet  saw  the  necessity  for  complete 
solidarity    between    the    Allies,    and    for    that 
reason  they  had  resolved  to  do  nothing  that 
might  weaken  the  Government  on  the  eve  of 


THE    TIMES    HISTORY    OF    THE    WAR. 


115 


AT     AN    ADVANCED     POST. 
A  lonely  Austrian  sentry  on  guard  in  the  Dolomites. 


the  Paris  Conference.  In  the  course  of  his 
.speech  in  defence  of  the  policy  of  the  Govern- 
ment Signor  Salandra  had  resented  the  sugges- 
tion that  Italy  had  not  put  her  whole  heart 
in  the  war,  declaring  that  Italy  "  now  holds  her 
place  in  the  front  line  of  the  great  war,  on  equal 
terms  with  those  Powers  with  whom  in  full  and 
loyal  solidarity  of  action  she  is  fighting  for  the 
defence  of  human  civilization  and  the  law  of 
nations."  This  seemed  a  fairly  satisfactory 
statement,  and  no  doubt  did  something  to 
placate  the  malcontents.  There  had  been  a 
long  discussion  between  the  leaders  of  the  new 
bloc  as  to  whether  they  should  continue  to  sup- 
port the  Government,  and  Signor  Bissolati  had 
some  difficulty  in  winning  his  followers  to  his 
way  of  thinking.  Indeed,  when  the  division 
came,  the  Reformist  Socialists,  Signori  Rai- 
mondo  and  Cabrini,  broke  away  from  their 
friends  and  voted  against  the  Government,  as 
did  the  small  Nationalist  group.  The  Govern- 
ment majority,  however,  was  sufficiently  impo- 
sing :  394  votes  to  61.  Signor  Salandra  was 
safe  for  the  moment,  but  it  was  realized  that 
the  Democratic  Alliance,  from  that  time 
onwards,  practically  held  the  Government  in 
their  hands.  The  closing  passage  of  Signor 
Bissolati's  speech,  every  phrase  of  which  had 


been  considered  by  the  leaders  of  the  new  party, 

outlined  the  policy  for  which  they  stood.     It 

ran  as  follows  : 

The  programme,  not  of  this  Government  only,  but  of 
any  Government  which  would  not  betray  Italy,  is  one 
only — Victory.  A  victory  which,  fortunately  for 
civilization,  cannot  be  the  victory  of  Italy,  of  France,  of 
Russia,  or  of  England,  but  is  the  victory  which,  being 
affirmed  in  the  resurrection  of  Belgium  and  Serbia,  in 
the  liberation  of  France,  in  the  attainment  of  Italy's 
national  claims,  and  in  the  reconstitution  of  Poland, 
will  lay  the  granite  foundations  of  a  Europe  free  and 
truly  civilized,  assured  against  the  manoeuvres  of  a 
military  caste,  and  dedicated  to  the  fruitful  works  of 
peace. 

The  visits  of  Signor  Salandra,  Baron  Son- 
nino  and  General  Cadorna  to  Paris,  the  reso- 
lutions passed  at  the  Paris  Conference,  and  the 
visit  of  Mr.  Asquith  to  Rome,  combined 
together  to  strengthen  the  position  of  the 
Government,  which  had  been  badly  shaken. 
There  was  comparatively  little  criticism  of 
Baron  Somiino's  definite  and  emphatic  refusal, 
in  his  speech  on  the  Foreign  Estimates,  to 
consider  the  suggestion  that  Parliament  should 
be  more  closely  associated  with  the  conduct 
of  Italy's  foreign  policy.  He  pointed  out  that 
the  abandonment  of  "secret  diplomacy" 
would  simply  play  into  the  hands  of  the  enemy, 
and  both  the  Chamber  and  public  opinion  saw 
the  force  of  his  argument.     The  Foreign  Esti- 


lit; 


THE     TIMES     HISTORY     OF     THE     WAN. 


mates  wen:  passed  by  352  votes  to  36,  and  there 
seemed  no  speeial  reason  to  anticipate  a  crisis 
when  Parliament  reassembled.  Signor  Salan- 
dra  was,  in  fact,  ready  to  include  Signor 
Bissolati  in  his  Cabinet,  but  the  Reformist 
leader  was  unwilling  to  accept  office.  He  felt 
that  it  would  be  difficult  to  reconcile  his  ideas 
with  the  Premier's  methods,  and  preferred  to 
retain  his  independence  of  action,  but  it  was 
generally  hoped  and  believed  that  Signer 
Salandra  would  learn  from  the  experience  of 
the  March  sittings  that  he  must  modify  his 
attitude  towards  the  Chamber  and  the  country. 
The  storm  blew  up  very  quickly  at  the  end. 
The   Chamber   reopened    on    June    0,    and    the 


/■iff* 

% 

V" 

'%f'/i 

^B    IP^I^liHi  flRKMJiJ^I  1 

^Pf 

MR.    ASQUITH    AT    ROME. 

(On  the  right  Signor  Salandra.) 

first  two  days  of  the  session  were  occupied  in 
quiet  discussion  of  the  Budget.  On  June  8, 
however,  a  motion  was  presented  by  Signer 
Eugenio  Cliiesa,  a  prominent  member  of  the 
Democratic  Alliance,  calling  upon  the  Govern- 
ment to  make  a  declaration  regarding  the 
military  situation.  He  suggested  the  holding 
of  a  secret  session  if  the  Government  was  un- 
willing to  make  a  public  statement,  but  he 
urged  that  the  country  was  growing  restive  at 
the  absence  of  any  Government  declaration, 
and  resented  the  discussion  of  the  Budget  at. a 
time  when  all  eyes  were  turned  upon  the 
Trentino.  Signor  Bissolati  deprecated  the 
pressing  of  the  motion,  but  suggested  that  the 
Government  might  find  a  way  of  taking  the 


leaders  of  the  various  groups  into  its  con 
fidence.  Signor  Salandra's  reply  did  not 
satisfy  the  Chamber.  He  appealed  for  patience, 
assuring  the  House  that  they  would  have 
ample  opportunity  of  discussing  the  general 
policy  of  the  Government  when  the  time  came 
for  the  Vote  on  Account.  The  Vote  was  to  be 
taken  in  four  days'  time,  and  meanwhile  he 
asked  the  Chamber  to  continue  its  ordinary 
work.  In  obedience  to  the  appeal  of  Signor 
Bissolati,  Signor  Chiesa  withdrew  his  motion, 
but  the  Chamber  quickly  altered  the  situation 
to  the  disadvantage  of  the  Government.  When 
the  Debate  on  the  Estimates  of  the  Ministry  of 
the  Interior  was  resumed  only  one  Deputy  spoke, 
and  the  Estimates  went  through  without 
further  discussion.  The  Estimates  of  the 
Ministries  of  Finance  and  the  Treasury  were 
disposed  of  without  a  word,  the  Colonial 
Estimates  were  passed  after  the  briefest  dis- 
cussion, and  the  sitting  closed  early.  No  fewer 
than  110  Deputies  who  were  inscribed  to  speak 
on  the  various  Estimates  withdrew  their 
names,  and  it  was  clear  that  the  Chamber 
meant  to  answer  silence  by  silence. 

The  next  day's  sitting  was  short,  the  voting 
being  taken  on  the  Estimates  which  had  been 
discussed,  or  rather,  not  discussed,  on  the 
previous  day.  The  Government  was  far  from 
obtaining  its  usual  war  majority  ;  the  Estimates 
of  the  Ministry  of  the  Interior,  for  example, 
being  passed  by  a  majority  of  only  71 — 191 
votes  to  120.  The  small  number  of  Deputies 
voting  was  significant. 

By  the  evening  of  June  9  the  situation  was 
fairly  clear.  Signor  Salandra  was  tired  of  the 
Chamber,  and  the  Chamber  was  tired  of  Signor 
Salandra.  The  Premier  had  perforce  advanced 
the  discussion  on  the  Vote  on  Account  two 
days,  and  had  indicated  that  he  meant  to  ask 
for  an  unconditional  vote  of  confidence.  The 
Interventionist  Left,  who  held  Iris  fate  in  their 
hands,  were  still  uncertain.  Conciliation  would 
have  probably  saved  the  Ministry,  but  Signor 
Salandra  was  in  anything  but  a  conciliatory 
mood.  It  is  believed  that  he  was  weary  of 
office.  He  had  lived  through  two  years 
of  exceptional  strain,  and  the  sittings  of 
the  spring  and  the  summer  had  seemed  to 
indicate  that  his  nerves  were  feeling  the  long 
trial. 

In  any  event,  he  had  showed  himself  un- 
yielding to  suggestion,  and  when  the  moment 
of  crisis  came  he  showed  himself  equally 
unyielding    to    the    pressure    of   circumstances. 


THE    TIMES    HISTORY    OF    THE    WAR. 


117 


BOMBARDMENT    ON    LAKE    GARDA. 
Shelling  the  Austrian  trenches  to  assist  the  Italian  Army  in  the  Trentino. 


The  speech  he  made  in  requesting  a  vote  of 
confidence  was  not  happily  phrased,  and  he 
gave  the  impression  of  being  altogether  out  of 
touch  with  the  Chamber.  One  passage  in 
particular  was  unfavourably  received.  He 
said  that  better  prepared  defences  on  the 
Trentino  front  would  at  least  have  arrested  the 
enemy  at  a  greater  distance  from  the  Venetian 
plain.  This  was,  of  course,  perfectly  true, 
and  it  was  typical  of  the  feeling  that  had  grown 


up  against  the  Premier  that  the  Chamber 
strongly  resented  his  bringing  the  question  of 
the  military  command  into  his  speech.  In 
answer  to  criticism,  Signor  Salandra  rose  to 
explain  that  he  was  not  criticizing  the  Comando 
Supremo,  but  merely  expressing  their  con- 
sidered opinion.  The  explanation  might  well 
have  been  sufficient,  but  it  was  not  so  considered, 
and  it  must  be  admitted  that  Signor  Salandra 
ought  to   have   said  either  more  or  nothing. 


lis 


THE    TIMES    HISTORY    OF    THE    WAR. 


SIGNOR   BOSELLI. 
Italian  Prime  Minister. 

After  his  speech  it  was  generally  felt  that  'the 
Premier  had  already  fallen,  and  the  result  of 
the  voting — 197  to  158  against  the  Govern- 
ment.— caused  no  surprise. 

The  majority  which  defeated  the  Salandra 
Government  represented  almost  all  shades  of 
opinion.  It  was  composed  as  follows  :  Official 
Socialists,  37;  Reformists,  20;  Radicals,  35; 
Giolittians.  50  ;  Right,  including  the  National- 
ist Group,  25  ;  Republicans,  10  ;  Democratic 
Constitutionalists,  20.  The  important  point 
was  that  more  than  half  of  the  malcontents 
came  from  those  groups  which  from  the  6rst 
were  most  strongly  m  favour  of  Italy's  partici- 
pation in  the  war,  the  groups  which  had  recently 
been  pressing  for  a  declaration  of  war  on  Ger- 
many and  the  reconstruction  of  the  Cabinet 
on  a  wide  basis.  The  balance  was  turned  by 
the  Democratic  Alliance,  and  it  was  clear  at 
once  that  their  ideas  would  count  for  much 
in  the  formation  of  the  new  Cabinet. 

Signor  Salandra  was  defeated  on  June  10,  and 
resigned  on  June  12.  The  King,  who  arrived 
in  Rome  from  the  war  zone  on  the  morning  of 
June  12,  did  not  at  once  accept  Signor  Salandra's 
resignation,  reserving  liis  decision  until  he  had 
consulted      various      political     leaders.      Two 


currents  of  opinion  made  themselves  felt 
immediately — one  in  favour  of  a  reconstruction 
of  the  outgoing  Ministry,  still  under  the  leader- 
ship of  the  two  men  who  had  led  Italy  to  war  ; 
the  other  supporting  a  "  National  Ministry  " 
under  the  presidency  of  the  veteran  Signor 
Boselli,  Father  of  the  Italian  Chamber  of 
Deputies.  It  was  soon  realized  that  the  "  re- 
incarnation "  of  Signor  Salandra  would  probably 
lead  to  a  repetition  of  the  difficulties  which  had 
caused  his  fall,  and  opinion  quickly  concen- 
trated upon  Signor  Boselli,  who  was  the  first 
choice  of  King  Victor  Emmanuel.  Signor 
Boselli  was  indicated  to  the  King  by  Signor 
Salandra,  and  also,  by  the  Presidents  of  the 
Chamber  and  Senate,  and  it  was  felt  that  he, 
better  than  anyone  else,  might  be  able  to  unite 
a  sufficient  number  of  elements  in  the  Chamber 
to  form  a  Cabinet  on  a  really  broad  basis.  He 
quickly  secured  the  adhesion  of  Signor  Orlando, 
Minister  of  Justice  in  Signor  Salandra's  Cabinet, 
who  represented  the  Liberals  of  the  Left  and 
had  recently  been  spoken  of  as  a  possible  Prime 
Minister,  and  of  Signor  Bissolati,  who  brought 
with  him  the  support  of  the  Democratic  Alliance. 
Signor  Boselli's  chief  difficulty  lay  in  filling  the 
position  of  Minister  of  Foreign  Affairs.  He  was 
anxious  to  secure  the  cooperation  of  Baron 
Sonnino  at  his  old  post,  and  in  this  desire  he 
was  backed  by  the  great  body  of  opinion  in  the 
country.  Two  obstacles  arose.  Tn  the  first 
place,  Baron  Sonnino  was  not  anxious  to  remain 
at  the  Consulta.  He  was  unwilling  to  sever  his 
political  fate  from  that  of  Signor  Salandra, 
and  he  was  determined  to  make  it  .a  condition 
of  his  remaining  in  office  that  adequate  reserve 
should  be  maintained  regarding  foreign  policy. 
In  the  second  place,  there  was  a  strong  move- 
ment in  Parliament  and  in  the  Press  in  favour 
of  Signor  Tittoni.  the  Italian  Ambassador  in 
Paris.  Signor  Tittoni,  however,  was  not  ac- 
ceptable to  the  Democratic  Alliance,  who  con- 
sidered that  his  career  had  been  too  much  the 
creation  of  Signor  Giolitti  to  allow  him  to  preside 
at  the  Consulta  at  such  -a  period.  Baron 
Sonnino's  personal  scruples  were  overcome  and 
his  conditions  were  readily  met  by  Signor 
Boselli.  The  opposition  to  his  remaining  at  the 
Consulta  never  took  serious  form,  and  on 
June  15  it  was  announced  that  he  had  consented 
to  retain  his  portfolio.  The  construction  of 
the  Cabinet  progressed  quickly  after  Signor 
Boselli  had  assured  himself  of  the  support  of 
the  three  leaders  mentioned,  and  late  on  the 
evening   of   June    18,   a  list   of   Ministers   was 


THE    TIMES    HISTORY    OF    THE    WAS. 


1  JO 


AN    EXPLOIT    OF    THE    ALPINI    AT    MONTE    TOFANA. 
Scaling    the   precipitous  peaks   of   Monte  Tofana,  where   the  Italian   troops  drove  the  enemy  out  of   the 

trenches. 


120 


THE    TIMES    HISTORY    OF    THE    WAR. 


published  which  was  practically  complete.  A 
day  later  the  last  names  were  added,  and  the 
new  Cabinet  received  the  approval  of  the 
King. 

The  Ministry  was  composed  as  follows  : 

Signor  Boselli,  Prime  Minister,  without  portfolio. 

Baron  Sonnino,  Foreign  Affairs. 

Signor  Orlando,  Interior. 

Signor  Bissolati,  without  portfolio. 

Signor  Carcano,  Treasury. 

Signor  Meda,  Finance. 

Signor  Rufnni,  Education. 

General  Morrone,  War. 

Admiral  Corsi,  Marine.  * 

Signor  Arlotta,  Transport. 

Signor  Sacchi,  Justice. 

Signor  Bonomi,  Public  Works. 

Signor  Fera,  Post  Office. 

Signor  Colosirno,  Colonies. 

Signor  Raineri,  Agriculture. 

Signor  Do  Nava,  Industry  and  Commerce. 

Signor  Comandini,  without  portfolio. 

Signor  Scialoja,  without  portfolio. 

Signor  Leonardo  Bianchi,  without  portfolio. 

The  Cabinet  now  consisted  of  19  members, 
instead  of  13.  There  wore  five  Ministers  with- 
out portfolios  instead  of  one,  and  two  new 
portfolios  were  created  by  the  establishment 
of  a  Ministry  of  Transport  and  the  severance 
of  the  departments  of  Industry  and  Commerce 
from  the  Ministry  of  Agriculture. 

The  new  Ministry  came  very  close  to  the  ideal 
of  a  National  Government.  There  were  six 
Liberal  Conservatives  or  Right  Centre  members, 
Signor  Boselli,  Baron  Sonnino,  Signor  De  Nava, 
Signor  Arlotta,  Signor  Ruffini  and  Signor 
Scialoja.  There  was  one  Catholic,  Signor 
Meda.  There  were  five  Liberals  of  the  Left, 
Signori  Orlando,  Carcano,  Raineri,  Colosirno 
and  Leonardo  Bianchi  ;  two  Radicals,  Signori 
Sacchi  and  Fera ;  two  Reformist  Socialists, 
Signori  Bissolati  and  Bonomi  ;  and  one  Re- 
publican, Signor  Comandini. 

The  announcement  of  the  new  Ministry  met 
with  as  great  a  measure  of  acceptance  as  could 
be  hoped.  Naturally  there  were  some  dis- 
appointments. There  was  not  room,  even  in  a 
greatly  enlarged  Cabinet,  for  all  those  who  had 
strong  claims  to  office.  And  some  of  those 
whose  claims  were  strong  per  se  were  not  likely 
to  work  well  with  those  whose  choice  was  in- 
evitable. The  greatest  danger  attending  a 
Government  which  included  so  many  different 
colours  lay  in  the  possibility  of  internal  dis- 
sension,    and     it     was     necessary     to     avoid 


appointments  which  would  clearly  lead  to 
friction. 

The  fall  of  Signor  Salandra  was  greatly  re- 
gretted in  Italy  even  by  many  who  had  felt 
bound  to  criticize  his  attitude.  His  name  will 
always  be  associated  with  the  most  important 
action  taken  by  Italy  since  her  existence  as  a 
united  country,  and  if  he  could  have  accommo- 
dated himself  to  the  requirements  of  the  situa- 
tion, satisfaction  would  have  been  general. 
Another  cause  for  regret  was  the  retirement  of 
Signor  Ferdinando  Martini,  Minister  of  the 
Colonies.  Signor  Martini  was  closely  associated 
with  Signor  Salandra  and  Baron  Sonnino  in  the 
policy  which  guided  Italy  to  intervention.  But 
he,  too,  was  suffering  from  the  long  strain.  He 
was  approaching  his  75th  birthday  when  the 
crisis  took  place,  and  he  had  earned  the  right 
to  rest. 

The  new  Government  was  certainly  stronger 
than  the  old,  as  far  as  personnel  was  concerned, 
and  it  commanded  a  very  different  measure  of 
support  in  the  Chamber.  The  moderate 
Giolittians,  who  had  come  to  see  the  absolute 
necessity  of  Italy's  intervention,  could  much 
more  readily  give  their  adhesion  to  a  Government 
of  which  Signor  Salandra  was  not  the  head. 
They  were  directly  represented  in  the  Cabinet 
by  Signor  Colosirno,  and  there  were  old  ties, 
which  they  could  renew,  with  Signor  Orlando 
and  others.  Far  the  most  striking  figure  among 
the  new  Ministers  was  Signor  Bissolati.  A 
Socialist  who  had  parted  company  with  his 
comrades  on  the  question  of  the  Tripoli  expedi- 
tion, he  had  from  the  first  stood  openly  for 
Italy's  intervention  against  Germany  and 
Austria.  From  the  first,  moreover,  he  had  seen 
that  Germany  was  the  prime  enemy.  He  had  a 
great  following  in  the  country  and  was  specially 
popular  in  the  army,  which  remembered  that 
for  many  months  he  had  fought  as  a  sergeant 
of  Alpini,  and  had  been  wounded  in  the  early 
days  of  the  campaign. 

Signor  Boselli  was  78  years  old,  but  he 
brought  to  his  task  a  fresh  and  vigorous  mind, 
as  well  as  long  Parliamentary  experience.  And 
all  his  colleagues  were  united  in  their  determina- 
tion to  prosecute  the  war  with  the  utmost 
vigour,  and  to  consolidate  the  alliance  with 
England,  France  and  Russia 


CHAPTER   CXL. 


THE  BATTLE  OF  JUTLAND  BANK. 


Looking  Forward  to  a  Fight — German  Naval  Policy — First  News  of  the  Battle  :  a  Mis- 
leading Communique' — Official  Excuses — German  Versions — The  Ships  Engaged  on  Both 
Sides — The  Battle-Cruisers  Come  into  Action — Sir  David  Beatty  Draws  the  Germans 
Northward — Arrival  of  Sir  John  Jellicoe  with  the  Battle  Fleet — Retreat  of  the  Enemy 
— Work  of  the  Light  Cruisers  and  Destroyers — British  and  German  Losses — Tales  of 
Gallantry. 


IN  the  afternoon  and  evening  of  May  31, 
1916,  an  action  was  fought  in  the  North 
Sea  between  the  Grand  Fleet  under 
Admiral  Sir  John  Jellicoe  and  the  German 
High  Sea  Fleet  under  Admiral  Reinhold 
Scheer.  The  genesis  of  the  encounter  will  be 
discussed  later,  but  its  successive  stages,  with 
one  important  difference,  followed  the  normal 
lines  of  similar  affairs  which  had  taken  place 
during  the  war.  First,  the  advanced  vedettes, 
the  light  cruisers  and  destroyers,  got  into 
touch,  and  then  the  reconnaissance  squadrons, 
the  battle-cruisers,  became  engaged,  just  as 
happened  in  the  Heligoland  Bight  on  August 
28,  1914,  and  at  the  Dogger  Bank  on  January 
24,  1915.  Presently,  the  unusual  happened, 
and  the  German  battle  fleet  arrived,  to  support 
its  cruisers,  and  a  little  later  the  British  battle 
squadrons  came  into  the  fray.  Then  the 
aspect  of  the  conflict  underwent  an  entire 
change. 

For  twenty-two  months  the  British  public 
had  looked  forward  almost  daily  to  such  an 
encounter — a  pitched  battle  at  sea,  as  it  was 
called.  There  was  no  anxiety  as  to  the  result, 
for  although  the  dire  consequences  of  a  naval 
defeat  were  well  recognized,  the  nation  had 
entire  trust  in  its  seamen,  and  confidently 
expected  that  if  a  suitable  opportunity  offered 
they  would  win  a  decisive  victory.  It  had 
been  asserted  that  the  command  of  the  sea 
Vol.  IX.— Part  108. 


could  not  be  obtained  until  a  fleet  action  had 
been  fought.  The  reasoning  by  which  this 
theory  was  supported  was  against  the  teaching 
of  history,  and,  moreover,  it  derived  no  con- 
firmation from  known  conceptions  of  German 
strategy  and  naval  needs.  The  conditions  in 
which  the  two  navies  faced  one  another  were 
not  such  as  to  give  promise  of  a  speedy  conflict 
on  a  large  scale.  The  enemy's  flag  had  dis- 
appeared from  the  ocean.  The  oversea  traffic 
of  the  Allies  continued  practically  unmolested, 
save  by  submarines.  British  naval  policy  was 
in  the  main  directed  to  the  destruction  of  the 
enemy's  commerce  and  trade  and  to  the 
enforcement  of  what  in  all  but  name  was  a 
blockade.  His  warships  were  shut  up  in  port, 
watched  by  the  British  seamen,  whose  only 
desire  was  to  draw  them  out  and  drub  them. 
So  long  as  the  enemy  made  no  attempt  to  take 
to  the  sea  in  force,  it  was  not  easy  to  see  how 
a  decisive  engagement  could  be  brought  about. 
Nevertheless,  it  was  hoped  that,  as  the  blockade 
became  more  stringent,  this  and  other  circum- 
stances might  operate  to  force  the  Germans  to 
risk  a  battle.  The  British  seamen  only  waited 
an  opportunity  to  translate  their  desires  into 
deeds. 

When,  however,  the  battle  occurred,  neither 
the  manner  in  which  it  was  made  known  to  the 
country,  the  circumstances  in  which  it  was 
fought,  nor  its  results,  were  exactly  what  the 


121 


122 


THE    TIMES    HISTORY    OF    THE    WAR. 


nation  had  expected  or  the  seamen  hoped  for. 
By  a  trick  of  fortune  they  were  baulked 
of  complete  satisfaction.  The  disappointment 
was  not  lasting,  for  with  later  news  came  an 
assurance  of  triumph,  and  in  any  case  the  faith 
of  the  people  in  the  Navy  never  weakened  or 
abated.  The  message  of  congratulation  which 
King  George  sent  to  the  Commander-in-Chief 
after  paying  a  visit  to  the  Grand  Fleet  ex- 
pressed in  fehcitous  terms  their  trust  and 
satisfaction.  "  Assure  all  ranks  and  ratings," 
said  the  King,  "  that  the  name  of  the  British 
Navy  never  stood  higher  in  the  eyes  of  their 
fellow-countrymen,  whose  pride  and  confidence 
in  their   achievements   are   unabated." 

The  significance  and  import  of  the  battle, 
however,  were  not  immediately  realized,  and 
until  all  the  conditions  were  known  attempts 
to  appraise  its  strategical  value  would  have 
been  premature.  The  purpose  of  the  "  enter- 
prise directed  northward,"  in  which  the  Ger- 
mans announced  on  June  1  that  their  Fleet  had 
been  engaged,  remained  obscure.  The  extent 
of  the  enemy's  success  or  failure  could  not  be 
calculated  until  the  precise  military  object 
which  they  were  seeking  to  attain  was  known. 
Manifestly,  it  was  not  to  the  advantage  of 
either  of  the  participants  to  reveal  details  of 
the  engagement  which  might  be  of  value  to 
the    other    side.      Reticence    %vas    essential    so 


long  as  hostilities  continued.  Even  were  the 
war  ended,  the  features  of  an  encounter  which 
illustrated  so  much  that  was  novel  in  sea 
fighting ;  the  relations  which  certain  move- 
ments bore  to  the  intelligence  of  the  enemy's 
position  and  strength ;  the  manoeuvres  by 
which  the  German  admiral  saved  his  ships 
from  destruction  ;  the  vise  of  various  classes 
and  typos  of  vessels  ;  the  efficie  icy  of  methods 
of  protection  and  equipment — these  and  many 
other  technical  problems  were  likely  for  a  long 
time  to  afford  subjects  for  professional  dis- 
cussion. Similar  questions  concerning  earlier 
naval  actions  of  the  era  of  steam  and  steel — 
Lissa,  Santiago,  and  Tsushima — were  still  de- 
bated, and  after  a  hundred  years  the  tactics 
of  Trafalgar  were  under  examination  by  an 
official  committee  of  experts. 

For  nearly  two  years  the  Grand  Fleet  had 
occupied  a  position  in  the  North  Sea  facing 
the  principal  bases  of  the  enemy.  Behind  this 
guard,  the  Allies  were  able  to  conduct  the 
passage  of  their  trade  and  troops  practically 
unmolested.  Campaigns  for  the  possession  of 
the  enemy's  colonies,  and  oversea  expeditions, 
were  undertaken ;  and  assistance  was  rendered 
to  the  land  forces  in  three  continents  without 
let  or  hindrance.  Furthermore,  the  Fleet  pro- 
vided a  safeguard  to  these  islands  from  inva- 
sion, and  enforced  what  was  to  all  intents  and 


BRITISH    LIGHT    CRAFT 
Watching  for  the  German  Fleet. 


THE    TIMES    HISTORY    OF    THE    WAB. 


123 


ADMIRAL    SIR    JOHN    JELLICOE,   G.C.B.,   G.C.V.O., 
Commander-in-Chief,  Grand  Fleet.      In  the  uniform  of  a  Vice-Admiral. 


purposes  a  strangulation  of  trade  with  Germany, 
the  stringency  of  which  was  only  limited  by 
the  diplomatic  requirements  of  the  Govern- 
ment. All  these  operations  could  not  have 
been  performed  without  exertions  which  im- 
posed a  severe  test  upon  those  qualities  of 
endurance,  resource,  patience  and  skill  for 
which  British  seamen  are  renowned.  The 
strain  was  ceaseless.  It  necessitated  arduous 
work  in  all  the  weathers  to  be  experienced  in 
the  higher  latitudes.     The  peril  from  the  mine 


and  the  submarine  mena.ce  were  always  present, 
and  the  call  upon  the  vigilance  of  the  flotillas 
and  fleets  on  patrol  service  unremitting.  But 
every  demand  was  fully  met.  While,  however, 
the  predominant  position  at  sea  was  thus 
maintained,  there  was  in  being,  within  a  short 
distance  of  our  shores,  the  second  strongest 
fleet  in  the  world,  manned  by  courageous  and 
competent  officers  and  men,  and  controlled  by 
the  same  wily,  unscrupulous,  and  determined 
authorities  in  Berlin  whose  barbarous  methods 


124 


THE    TIMES    HISTORY    OF    THE    WAR. 


THE    SCENE    OF   THE    BATTLE, 
May  31-June  1,  1916. 


of  waging  war  had  received  shocking  demonstra- 
tion alike  on  land  and  sea.  Forced  by  the 
rigours  of  the  blockade,  by  the  economic  pres- 
sure which  told  upon  the  production  of  material 
for  the  land  warfare,  and  by  the  restriction  of 
their  sources  of  wealth  and  prosperity  resulting 
from  the  loss  of  sea-borne  commerce — this  fleet 
might  at  any  time  be  flung  into  the  arena  to 
pick  up  the  gage  of  battle,  opportunity  for 
which  was  always  offered  and  ardently  desired 
by  the  British  seamen.  When  the  opportunity 
did  occur,  and  the  hopes  which  inspired  the 
latter  seemed  likely  to  be  fulfilled,  their 
opponents    fought    indeed    with    courage    and 


skill,  but  they  evaded  decisive  action,  and 
retired  to  their  fortified  bases.  The  Grand 
Fleet  still  retained  an  undisputed  mastery  of 
the  sea  communications  ;  its  grip  was  not 
weakened,  much  less  broken  ;  while,  tried  in 
the  test  of  battle,  the  prestige  of  the  British 
Navy,  as  well  as  its  efficiency,  stood  on  a  higher 
plane  than  ever. 

There  was,  as  always,  a  moral  as  well  as  a 
material  aspect  to  the  battle.  Although  the 
Germans  were  able,  owing  to  the  proximity 
of  their  harbours,  to  promulgate  their  version 
of  the  action  first,  the  impression  created  by 
their  false  and  misleading  announcements  was 


THE    TIMES    HISTORY    OF    THE    WAR. 


125 


dissipated    when    the    fuller    British    accounts 
were     published.     The     conflict     afforded     an 
opportunity  to  the  British  seamen  for  a  display 
of  those  qualities  of  courage,  endurance,  and 
skill  which  were  confidently  expected  of  them. 
It  is  not  in  mortals  to  command  success,  but 
in  this  battle  there  was  displayed  in  the  Grand 
Fleet  convincing  evidence  of  readiness  to  take 
the  initiative,  of  consummate  ability  in  execu- 
tion,   and   of   capacity,   boldness,    and   daring 
which  thoroughly  deserved  to  succeed.     Great 
Britain    and    Germany   were    the    two    most 
formidable  of  naval   Powers,  and,  despite  the 
material  superiority  of  the  former,  their  navies 
were  in  other  respects  apparently  well  matched. 
The  Germans  were  assured  that  their  methods 
of  training,  their  guns  and  mechanical  equip- 
ment, with  the  armament  and  armour  supplied 
by  Krupp,   were  better  than    those    of    their 
opponents.     Given  that  they  could  choose  their 
own  time  and  place  for  action,  they  believed 
that  these  advantages  would  more  than  com- 
pensate   for    a    deficiency    in    numbers.     Yet 
when  tried  in  the  stern  ordeal  of  battle,  the 
higher  standard  of  technique  was  on  the  other 
side.     Neither  in  nerve  nor  in  moral  were  the 
staying  powers  of  the  Germans  equal  to  those 
of   their   opponents,   nor   did   they   prove   the 
better  in  tactical  efficiency,  scientific  gunnery, 
or  the  handling  of  ships  and  machinery. 

In  character  and  organization  the  fleet 
which  Grand  Admiral  von  Tirpitz  created  was 
designed  to  serve  two  purposes.  It  was  to  be 
both  a  political  influence  and  an  instrument  of 
war.  In  the  event  of  European  complications, 
it  was  intended  that  the  possession  of  a  fleet 
of  such  strength  by  Germany  should  force  Great 


Britain  to  remain  neutral.  Not  even  the 
mightiest  Naval  Power  would,  it  was  said,  dare 
to  incur  the  risk  involved  in  fighting  it.  Thus 
the  much-dreaded  blockade  would  be  pre- 
vented. The  other  and  much  older  purpose 
was  the  use  of  the  Fleet — its  inferiority  being 
recognised — for  making  sudden  onslaughts, 
bolts  from  the  blue,  hussar-like  strokes,  which 
at  little  cost  to  the  assailant  would  inflict 
damage  of  a  serious  character  principally  on 
the  hostile  naval  force,  but  with  avoidance  of 
a  contested  or  prolonged  action.  The  first 
purpose  failed  when  Mr.  Churchill  and  Admiral 
Prince  Louis  of  Battenberg  sent  the  Grand 
Fleet  into  the  North  Sea  to  its  fighting  stations, 
and  this  country  decided  on  war.  Great 
Britain,  thanks  largely  to  Mr.  McKenna  and 
Admiral  of  the  Fleet  Lord  Fisher,  had  built 
up  a  fleet  which  was  in  a  position  to  take  the 
risk  of  engaging  even  the  High  Sea  Fleet  if 
required  to  do  so.  But.  in  the  early  months  of 
the  war  a  naval  battle  on  the  grand  scale  was 
not  in  Germany's  programme.  The  strategic 
line  imposed  upon  her  by  the  appearance  of 
that  supreme  British  Fleet  in  the  North  Sea  was 
a  modification  of  the  two  ideas  above  mentioned. 
In  the  outer  seas  an  attempt  was  made  to 
interfere  with  British  trade,  which  was  to  some 
extent  successful,  but  it  came  to  an  untimely 
end,  with  no  inconsiderable  loss  of  useful 
cruisers,  as  a  result  of  the  British  victory  off 
the  Falklands.  Nearer  home,  sallying  tactics 
were  tried,  with  the  assistance  of  the  mine  and 
the  submarine,  in  the  belief  that  such  damage 
as  resulted  might  gradually  whittle  away  the 
supremacy  of  the  superior  fleet  and  provide 
an  opportunity  for  larger  operations.     In  the 


THE    GERMAN    DREADNOUGHT   BATTLESHIP   "KAISER," 
which  took  part  in  the  battle. 


10S— 2 


126 


THE    TIMES    HISTORY    OF    THE    WAR. 


VICE-ADMIRAL    SGHEEK, 

Commander-in-Chief  of  the  High  Sea  Fleet. 

face  of  the  energy,  resource,  and  ingenuity  of 
the  British  seamen,  this  plan  also  was  of  little 
avail. 

The  new  naval  policy  was  thus  one  of 
strategic  reticence,  varied  by  cruiser  raids  and 
submarine  adventures.  In  its  defended  ports 
the  High  Sea  Fleet  was  beyond  the  reach  of 
our  naval  forces,  while  at  the  same  time, 
by  reason  of  the  Kiel  Canal,  it  served  to  secure 
the  flanks  and  rear  of  the  armies  which 
on  interior  lines  were  operating  on  two 
fronts.  Nevertheless,  it  could  not  protect 
Germany's  foreign  possessions  or  her  sea- 
borne commerce.  It  could  not  prevent  that 
naval  compression,  the  strangling  effects  of 
which  were  severely  felt,  even  when  minimized 
to  some  extent  by  economic  organization,  by 
the  help  of  neutrals,  and  by  the  development 
of  internal  communications.  The  new  plan 
offered  a  striking  contrast  to  Germany's  bold 
campaign  on  land,  but  the  Grand  Admiral 
quoted  with  approval  Nelson's  saying  :  "  Do 
not  imagine  I  am  one  of  those  hot-brained 
people  who  fight  at  a  disadvantage  without  an 
adequate  object."  Attempts  could  still  be 
made  against  the  floating  trade  of  the  Allies, 
and  von  Tirpitz  threw  himself  with  character- 
istic energy  into  the  enforcement  of  a  "  sub- 
marine blockade  " — a  secret,  sneaking  war. 
directed  alike  against  neutral  and  belligerent, 
merchantman  and  fishing  boat.      The  "  selected 


moment,"  the  time  to  strike  with  advantage, 
had  not  yet  come,  and  before  it  was  thought 
to  have  done  so  von  Tirpitz  went  into  retire- 
ment. 

During  the  time  that  the  Grand  Admiral  was 
at  the  Ministry  of  Marine  the  policy  of  ruthless 
submarine  activity  prevailed,  and  the  cruiser 
raids  which  preceded  the  Dogger  Bank  action 
were  made   against   the   East   Coast.     It   was 
said,  however,  that  in  regard  to  the  use  of  the 
battle   fleet   Tirpitz    counselled    prudence   and 
caution,    and    that   he    was   even    opposed   to 
risking   the   Dreadnoughts   in   the   Baltic.     If, 
therefore,   he   had   a   deciding   voice   in   naval 
strategy,    it    was    assumed    there    would    be 
no    fleet    action.     Up     to     September,     1915, 
when    the    first    rumours    of    the    removal    of 
von   Tirpitz    appeared,    there    had    only   been 
one    mention    of    a    movement    on    the    part 
of   the   High   Sea   Fleet.     This   was   in   April, 
1915,  when  the  Fleet  was  said  to  have  advanced 
into  English  waters.     What  exactly  was  meant 
by  this  official  announcement  was  never  made 
clear,  but  it  followed  upon  the  appointment  oi 
Admiral    Hugo    von    Pohl    as    Commander-in- 
Chief  in  the  place  of  Admiral   Ingenohl,  who 
was  supposed  to  have  been  relieved  in  conse- 
quence of  the  failure  at  the  Dogger  Bank.     It 
seems  likely  that  von  Tirpitz  had  more  to  do 


VICE-ADMIRAL    HIPPER, 
Commanded  the  German  reconnoitring  fleet. 


THE     TIMES    HISTORY    OF    THE    WAR. 


127 


THE    "WARSPITE," 


ONE    OF    THE    "QUEEN    ELIZABETH"    SQUADRON, 

Engaging  the  German  Battleships, 


with  the  policy  of  ship  construction  than  with 
the  control  of  the  Fleet.  There  appears  to  be 
some  reason  for  the  belief  that  instead  of 
pressing  on  the  building  of  heavier  vessels  he 
concentrated  the  resources  of  the  arsenals  and 
shipyards — on  the  former  of  which  the  land 
requirements  must  have  been  making  a  very 
heavy  call — upon  submarine  output  and 
perhaps  some  novel  devices.  The  rumours  of 
changes  in  the  armament  of  ships,  and  of  the 
appearance  of  new  and  strange  craft — "  the 
novel  dangers  requiring  novel  expedients,"  as 
Mr.  Churchill  said — were  founded  to  some  extent 
on  a  phrase  in  a  letter  to  von  Tirpitz  from  the 
Kaiser,  who  thanked  him  for  what  he  had 
accomplished  during  the  war  "  by  preparing 
new  means  of  fighting  in  all  departments  of 
warfare."  The  composition  of  the  German 
Fleet  in  the  action  of  May  31  afforded  no 
support,  however,  to  this  theory. 

The  direction  of  the  operations  of  the  Fleet 
appears  to  have  been  more  particularly  in  the 
nands  of  the  Naval  General  Staff,  and  the 
appointment  in  the  autumn  of  1915  of  von 
Holtzendorff  (who  had  commanded  the  Fleet 
himself  from  September,  1909,  to  January, 
1913)  as  Chief  of  that  Staff,  in  succession  to 
Admiral  Bachmann,  apparently  coincided 
■with    changes    in    policy.     At    all    events,    on 


December  19,  1915,  the  Admiralty  Staff  at 
Berlin  announced  that  a  portion  of  the  High 
Sea  Fleet  in  the  previous  week  had  searched 
the  North  Sea  for  the  enemy,  and  then  cruised 
on  the  17th  and  18th  in  the  Skager  Rak, 
searching  shipping.  Fifty-two  steamers  were 
examined,  it  was  stated,  and  one  steamer 
loaded  with  contraband  was  seized.  "  During 
this  entire  period,"  the  announcement  con- 
cluded, "  the  English  fighting  forces  were 
nowhere  to  be  seen."  It  must  have  been 
about  this  time  that  von  Pohl  found  himself 
too  unwell  to  continue  the  active  work  of  his 
command,  and  he  was  temporarily  succeeded 
by  Vice  -  Admiral  Scheer,  a  division  com- 
mander. In  February,  1910,  von  Pohl 
died,  and  Scheer  was  confirmed  in  the 
appointment,  but  even  before  this  hap- 
pened there  began  to  be  rumours  of  increased 
liveliness,  and  reports  from  fishermen  and 
other  sources  that  the  High  Sea  Fleet,  or 
portions  of  it,  were  making  short  cruises. 
In  March,  25  ships  were  seen  off  Vlieland, 
on  the  Dutch  coast,  and  a  little  later 
other  squadrons  moving  in  the  same  locality. 
Then  in  April  the  Yarmouth  raid  occurred, 
and  both  from  Holland  and  Denmark  move- 
ments at  Kiel  and  Heligoland,  as  well  as 
unusual   activity   in   the   dockyards,   were  re- 


128 


THE    TIMES    HISTORY    OF    THE    WAR. 


VICE-ADMIRAL    SIR    DAVID    BEATTY, 
K.C.B..    M.V.O..    D.S.O., 

Commanded    the  Battle-cruiser   Fleet. 
In  the  uniform  of  a  Vice-Admiral. 

ported.  It  was  widely  believed  by  neutrals 
that  the  enemy  would  attempt  some  stroke, 
and  that  the  gun  practice  continually  being 
carried  out  behind  the  mine-fields,  with  the 
airships  which  in  fine  weather  were  always 
patrolling  the  North  Sea,  were  symptoms  of 
this  impending  movement.  Most  certainly 
there  were  reflections  in  various  directions  of 
a  more  energetic  hand  at  the  wheel.  Simul- 
taneously, all  that  portion  of  the  Press  which 
derived  its  inspiration  from  the  Admiralty — 
Count  P^eventlow  and  the  naval  officers  writing 
for  the  German  papers — appeared  to  be  under 
instructions  to  prepare  the.  German  people  for 
some  development  of  the  war  at  sea.  More- 
over, the  increasing  effect  of  the  blockade, 
internal  discontent  and  unrest,  with  the  new 
co-ordinated  efforts  of  the  Allies  in  the  land 
theatres,  could  not  but  exercise  an  influence 
in  this  direction. 

Although,  therefore,  the  situation  was  not 
without  indication  of  the  possibility  of  a 
coming  conflict — and  it  may  be  assumed  that 
the  signs  had  been  noted  and  acted  upon  by 
the  naval  authorities — yet  the  public  experi- 


[RusssU. 


REAR-ADMIRAL    O.    DE    B.    BROCK, 
Commanded  the   First  Battle-cruiser  Squadron. 

enced  a  great  shock  when  the  first  news  of  the 
battle  was  announced  on  the  evening  of  Friday, 
June  2.  The  nation  was  disappointed,  and  the 
world  deceived. 

There  had  been  rumours  in  London  ot  a 
naval  engagement  on  Wednesday  night,  but 
such  rumours  were  of  almost  daily  occurrence, 
and  as  no  confirmation  was  forthcoming  the 
story  was  dismissed  as  others  had  been  before. 
On  Thursday,  the  tidings  became  more  circum- 
stantial, and  received  support  from  news  which 
leaked  out  in  the  dockyard  towns  and  naval 
bases.  As,  however,  the  House  of  Commons 
adjourned  shortly  after  nine  p.m.,  in  accordance 
with  a  resolution  moved  by  the  Prime  Minister, 
without  any  announcement  on  the  subject  of 
a  naval  battle  having  been  made,  there  were 
still  doubts  as  to  whether  it  had  taken  place. 
It  was  afterwards  explained  by  Mr.  Balfour, 
at  a  luncheon  in  the  week  following  the  battle, 
at  the  British  Imperial  Council  of  Commerce, 
that  he  got  his  first  intimation  from  the 
Commander-in-Chief  that  an  engagement  be- 
tween the  hostile  fleets  was  imminent  on 
Wednesday  afternoon,  and  from  that  time, 
until  a  telegram  was  received  from  Sir  John 
Jellicoe   on   Friday  afternoon,   the   Admiralty 


THE    TIMES    HISTORY    OF    THE    WAR. 


129 


[Lafayette. 

REAR-ADMIRAL   W.    C.    PAKENHAM, 
Commanded   the   Second    Battle-cruiser   Squadron. 

had  no  news  from  him  as  to  the  course  of  the 
engagement.  Such  information  as  they  had 
was  mainly  obtained  from  intercepted  wireless 
messages,  which  included,  no  doubt,  the  report 
by  the  German  Admiralty  to  Washington  on 
June  1,  describing  the  action  and  the  losses 
which  the  British  were  said  to  have  suffered. 
It  was  not  until  seven  p.m.  on  Friday,  June  2, 
that  the  following  communique  was  issued  by 
the  Admiralty  through  the  Press  Bureau  : — 

On  the  afternoon  of  Wednesday,  May  31,  a  naval 
engagement  took  place  off  the  coast  of  Jutland.  The 
British  ships  on  which  the  brunt  of  the  fighting  fell  were 
the  Battle-Cruiser  Fleet  and  some  cruisers  and  light 
cruisers,  supported  by  four  fast  battleships.  Among 
those  the  losses  were  heavy.  The  German  Battle  Fleet, 
aided  by  low  visibility,  avoided  prolonged  action  with 
our  main  forces,  and  soon  after  these  appeared  on  the 
scene  the  enemy  returned  to  port,  though  not  before 
receiving  severe  damage  from  our  battleships. 

The  battle-cruisers  Queen  Mary,  Indefatigable, 
Invincible,  and  the  cruisers  Defence  and  Black  Prince 
were  sunk.  The  Warrior  was  disabled,  and,  after  being 
towed  for  some  time,  had  to  be  abandoned  by  her  crew. 
It  is  also  known  that  the  destroyers  Tipperary,  Turbulent, 
Fortune,  Sparrowhawk  and  Ardent  were  lost,  and  six 
others  are  not  yet  accounted  for.  No  British  battleships 
or  light  cruisers  were  sunk.  The  enemy's  losses  were 
serious.  At  least  one  battle-cruiser  was  destroyed,  and 
one  severely  damaged  ;  one  battleship  reported  sunk  by 
our  destroyers  during  a  night  attack  ;  two  light  cruiser* 
were  disabled  and  probably  sunk.  The  exact  number  of 
enemy  destroyers  disposed  of  during  the  action  cannot  be 
ascertained  with  any  certainty,  but  it  must  have  been  large. 


[Lafayette. 

REAR-ADMIRAL  THE  HON.  HORACE 
L.  A.  HOOD,  C.B.,  M.V.O.,  D.S.O., 

Commanded  the   Third   Battle-cruiser   Squadron. 
In  the  uniform  of  a  Captain,   R.N. 

The  wording  of  this  communique,  with  its 
admissions  of  British  losses  apparently  much 
heavier  than  those  inflicted  upon  the  enemy, 
gave  the  impression  that  it  was  the  preliminary 
and  guarded  announcement  of  a  naval  reverse. 
The  evening  papers  published  the  news  in  their 
later  editions,  and  generally  it  was  taken  to 
indicate  that  the  Germans,  in  great  strength 
had  surprised  a  portion  of  the  British  Fleet 
and  inflicted  heavy  loss  upon  it  before  help 
could  arrive.  The  very  frankness  with  which 
heavy  casualties  were  admitted,  coupled  with 
the  statement  that  soon  after  our  main  forces 
"  appeared  on  the  scene  the  enemy  returned 
to  port,"  was  sufficient  to  justify  such  appre- 
hensions as  were  created  by  the  news.  The 
early  editions  of  the  morning  papers,  and  most 
of  those  published  in  the  provinces,  contained 
the  same  communique,  with  comments  founded 
on  it.  At  one  o'clock  on  Saturday  morning 
a  further  announcement  was  made  which  put 
a  slightly  better  complexion  on  the  affair.  This 
second  statement  was  as  follows  : — 

Since  the  foregoing  communiqud  was  issued,  a  further 
report  has  been  received  from  the  Commander-in-Chief, 
Grand  Fleet,  stating  that  it  is  now  ascertained  that  our 


130 


THE    TIMES'  HISTORY    OF    THE    WAR. 


131 


total  losses  in  destroyers  amount  to  eight  boats  in  all. 
The  Commander-in-Chief  also  reports  that  it  is  now 
possible  to  form  a  closer  estimate  of  the  losses  and 
damage  sustained  by  the  enemy  fleet.  One  Dread- 
nought battleship  of  the  Kaiser  class  was  blown  up  in  an' 
attack  by  British  destroyers,  and  another  Dreadnought 
battleship  of  the  Kaiser  class  is  believed  to  have  been 
sunk  by  gun-fire.  Of  three  German  battle-cruisers,  two 
of  which,  it  is  believed,  were  the  Derfflinger  and  the 
Liitzow,  one  was  blown  up,  another  was  heavily  engaged 
by  our  Battle  Fleet  and  was  seen  to  be  disabled  and 
stopping,  and  a  third  was  observed  to  be  seriously 
damaged.  One  German  light  cruiser  and  six  German 
destroyers  were  surds,  and  at  least  two  more  German  light 
cruisers  were  seen  to  be  disabled.  Further,  repeated 
hits  were  observed  on  three  other  German  battleships 
that  were  engaged.  Finally,  a  German  submarine  was 
rammed  and  sunk. 

This  was  published  by  the  newspapers  in 
their  later  editions,  and  the  alterations  made 
in  the  editorial  comments  showed  that  it  had 
a  reassuring  effect.  Many  people,  however 
will  long  retain  unpleasant  recollections  of 
that  first  Friday  night  in  June,  1916,  when 
they  might  have  been  sharing  in  the  satis- 
faction of  a  British  naval  triumph,  had  the 
Admiralty  acted  more  judiciously  in  circulating 
the  news.  On  Saturday  and  Sunday,  June  3 
and  4,  a  third  official  communique  and  two 
semi-official  announcements  were  issued  from 
the  Admiralty  through  the  Press  Bureau.  The 
first-named  was,  in  effect,  an  epitome  of  the 
dispatches  from  the  Commander-in-Chief  pub- 
lished a  month  later,  and  showed  the  action 
in  its  true  light.  It  finally  disposed  of  the  idea 
that  the  Germans  had  won  a  victory,  but  even 
so  its  encouraging  effect  was  to  some  extent 
minimized  by  the  semi-official  statements 
which  appeared  at  the  same  time.  The  first  of 
these  was  an  analysis  of  the  British  and  German 
losses  by  Mr.  Winston  Churchill.  After  com- 
paring the  units  of  the  Fleets  alleged  to  have 
been  sunk  on  either  side,  and  pointing  out 
that  so  far  from  ours  having  been  the  greater 
the  balance  was  the  other  way  about,  Mr. 
Churchill  went  on  to  say  : — 

Our  margin  of  superiority  is  in  no  way  impaired.  The 
despatch  of  troops  to  the  Continent  should  continue  with 
the  utmost  freedom,  the  battered  condition  of  the 
German  Fleet  being  an  additional  security  to  us.  The 
hazy  weather,  the  fall  of  night,  and  the  retreat  of  the 
enemy  alone  frustrated  the  persevering  efforts  of  our 
brilliant  commanders,  Sir  John  Jellicoe  and  Sir  David 
Beatty,  to  force  a  final  decision.  Although  it  was  not 
possible  to  compel  the  German  main  fleet  to  accept  battle, 
the  conclusions  reached  are  of  extreme  importance.  All 
classes  of  vessels  on  both  sides  have  now  met,  and  we 
know  that  there  are  no  surprises  or  unforeseen  features. 
An  accurate  measure  can  be  taken  of  the  strength  of  the 
enemy,  and  his  definite  inferiority  is  freed  from  any 
element  of  uncertainty. 

This  calling  in  of  Mr.  Churchill  by  the  First 

Lord    to    give    what    the    former    termed    "  a 

reassuring  interview  "  was  regarded  as  a  weak- 


step  on  the  part  of  the  Admiralty,  and  aroused 
much  criticism.  Both  Mr.  Balfour  and  Mr. 
Churchill  felt  constrained  to  explain  why  the 
latter  was  asked  to  intervene,  but  neither  in 
this  matter  nor  in  the  attempt  to  throw  the 
blame  for  the  misleading  impression  created 
by  the  first  communique  on  to  the  Press  were 
the  excuses  regarded  as  entirely  satisfactory. 
The  other  semi-official  statement  came  from 
"  a  naval  officer  of  high  rank,"  who  had  had 
access,  like  Mr.  Churcliill,  to  special  sources  of 
information.  It  was  in  the  shape  of  an  inter- 
view with  a  representative  of  the  Associated 
Press  of  America  on  June  3,  but  was  issued 
by  the  Press  Bureau  on  the  following  day.  The 
various  stages  of  the  battle  were  described, 
with  additional  details  and  comments  on  the 
official  reports.  To  the  interviewer,  this  officer 
further   remarked  : 

We  can  only  say  that  we  were  looking  for  a  fight  when 
our  Fleet  went  out.  Stories  that  it  was  decoyed  by  the 
Germans  are  the  sheerest  nonsense.  .  .  .  The  battle  hod 
four  phases,  the  first  opening  at  3.15  p.m.,  when  our 
battle-cruisers,  at  a  range  of  six  miles,  joined  action  with 
the  German  battle-cruisers.  Shortly  after,  the  second 
phase  began,  with  the  arrival  on  both  sides  of  battle- 
ships. The  Germans  arrived  first,  but  before  their 
arrival  our  three  battle-cruisers  had  been  blown  up, 
supposedlyas  the  result  of  gun-fire,  but  there  is  a  possi- 
bility that  they  met  their  fate  by  torpedoes. 

Such  close-range  fightinc  by  battle-cruisers  might  be 
criticised  as  bad  tactics,  but  our  Fleet,  following  the 
traditions  of  the  Navy,  went  out  to  engage  the  enemy. 
On  account  of  the  weather  conditions  however,  it  could 
only  do  so  at  short  range. 

The  third  phase  was  the  engagement  of  battleships, 
which  was  never  more  than  partial.  This  phase  included 
a  running  fight,  as  the  German  Dreadnoughts  fled 
towards  their  bases.  All  the  big  ship  fighting  was  over 
by  9.15.  Then  came  one  of  the  most  weird  features  of 
the  battle,  as  the  German  destroyers  made  attack  after 
attack,  like  infantry  following  an  artillery  preparation 
on  our  big  ships  ;  but  these  onslaughts  were  singularly 
futile,  not  a  single  torpedo  launched  by  them  getting 
home.  With  the  morning  these  attacks  ended,  and  the 
battleground  was  scoured  by  Admiral  Jellieoe's  Fleet, 
which  reported  not  a  single  enemy  ship  in  sight. 

After  a  summary  of  the  losses  believed  to  have 
been  inflicted  upon- the -enemy  attention  was 
directed  to  the  circumstance  that  the  weather 
conditions  were  the  hardest  bit  of  luck  the 
Fleet  encountered,  as  shown  by  the  following 
paragraph  in  the  official  report  :  "  Regret 
misty  weather  saved  enemy  from  far  more 
severe  punishment."  This  account  of  the 
engagement  was  published  in  a  great  number 
of  the  British  and  foreign  papers.  It  foimed 
the  basis  of  much  of  the  comment  and  criticism 
that  was  made  by  naval  officers  and  others  in 
the  United  States,  where  it  was  doubtless 
intended  to  counteract  the  erroneous  impres- 
sions created  by  the  announcements  which  the 


132 


THE    TIMES    HISTORY    OF    THE    WAR 


[Russell. 

CAPTAIN    E.    M.    PHILLPOTTS, 
Commanded   lhe  Battleship   "Warspite." 

German  Admiralty  were  issuing.  The  Ameri- 
cans got  their  first  notion  from  a  Berlin  message 
which,  being  sent  by  wireless  to  Sayville, 
escaped  the  censorship  over  the  cable  lines. 
This  was  supplemented  by  the  German  Ad- 
miralty report  dated  June  1,  the  text  of  which 
was  as  follows  : 

During  an  enterprise  directed  towards  the  north,  our 
High  Sea  Fleet  on  Wednesday  (May  31)  encountered  the 
main  part  of  the  British  fighting  fleet,  which  was  con- 
siderably superior  to  our  forces.  During  the  afternoon, 
between  the  Skagger  Rak  and  Horn  Reef,  a  heavy 
ongagement  developed,  which  was  successful  for  us,  and 
which  continued  during  the  whole  night.  In  this 
engagement,  so  far  as  is  known  to  us  at  present,  we 
destroyed  the  great  battleship  Warspite,  the  battle- 
cruisers  Queen  Mary  and  Indefatigable,  two  armoured 
cruisers,  apparently  of  the  Achilles  type,  one  small 
cruiser,  the  new  destroyer  leaders  Turbulent,  Nestor  and 
Alcaster  (Acasta),  a  large  number  of  destroyers,  and  one 
submarine. 

By  observations  which  are  unchallengeable,  it  is 
known  that  a  larce  number  of  British  battleships 
suffered  damage  from  our  ships  and  torpedo  craft  during 
the  day  and  night  actions.  Among  others,  the  great 
battleship  Marlborough  was  hit  by  a  torpedo,  as  has  been 
confirmed  by  prisoners.  Several  of  our  ships  rescued 
portions  of  the  crews' of  the  sunk  British  ships,  among 
whom  were  the  only  two  survivors  of  the  Indefatigable. 

On  our  side,  the  small  cruiser  Wiesbaden  was  sunk  by 
the  enemy's  guns  in  the  course  of  the  day  action,  and 
the  Pommern  during  the  night  by  a  torpedo.  The  fate 
of  the  Frauenlob,  which  is  missing,  and  of  some  torpedo 
boats  which  have  not  yet  returned,  is  unknown.  The 
High  Sea  Fleet  returned  to-day  (Thursday)  to  our  ports. 

A  second  official  message  was  issued  by  the 

Chief  of  the  German  Naval  Staff  on  June  3,  in 

which  the  loss  of  the  Elbing  was  admitted,  and 

another  on  June  7,  in  which  was  admitted  the 

loss    of    the    vessels    Liitzow    and    Rostock — 


[Russell. 

CAPTAIN    F.    C.    DREYER,    C.B., 
Flag-Captain  and  Gunnery  Director  of  the  Fleet. 

information  hitherto  withheld,  it  was  announced, 
for  military  reasons. 

The  view  generally  taken  by  the  American 
Press,  from  the  early  British  and  German 
reports,  even  by  those  papers  which  sympa- 
thized with  the  cause  of  the  Allies,  was  that  the 
British  had  suffered  a  defeat.  As  an  example, 
the  Philadelphia  Inquirer,  an  old-established 
journal  of  well-balanced  judgment,  said  in  its 
leading  article  of  June  3  : 

In  the  first  great  naval  engagement  of  the  war,  in  a 
conflict  for  which  the  British  have  been  a-weatying,  and 
in  which  they  counted  with  confidence  on  success,  they 
have  been  decisively  defeated,  and  have  sustained  losses 
which  not  the  most  optimistically  inclined  can  regard  as 
negligible.  ...  So  far  as  can  be  gathered  from  the 
information  at  hand,  only  a  comparatively  small  section 
of  the  British  Fleet  was  engaged,  and  it  is  hardly 
necessary  to  point  out  that  Great  Britain's  naval 
superiority  has  not  been  materially  affected  by  the  losses 
it  has  sustained. 

The  early  reports  gave  rise  to  erroneous  con- 
clusions by  others  than  civilians.  The  Army 
and  Navy  Journal,  of  New  York,  in  its  issue  of 
June  10,  stated  that  in  the  opinion  of  officers 
at  the  Navy  Department,  the  British  battle- 
cruisers  got  into  a  place  in  the  engagement  for 
which  they  were  entirely  unsuited. 

In  some  quarters  there  has  been  a  tendency  to  criticize 
the  commander  of  the  Battle-Cruiser  Fleet,  and  par- 
ticularly the  commanders  of  the  light  armoured  cruisers, 
for  impetuously  rushing  into  a  struggle  where  thoy  were 
at  such  a  disadvantage,  but  this  is  explained  in  part  by 
the  suggestion  that  in  all  probability  the  British  naval 
officeis  had  been  held  in  leash  so  long  that  when  they  got 
an  opportunity  to  get  into  action  they  showed  more 
courage  than  prudence. 


THE    TIMES    HISTORY    OF    THE    WAR. 


133 


[Russell. 

CAPTAIN    ARTHUR    L.    CAY, 
Flag-Captain  of  the  "Invincible." 

Rear-Admiral  Caspar  F.  Goodrich,  after  quoting 
from  the  statement  of  "  the  naval  officer  of  high 
rank,"   said  : 

It  would  seem  from  what  we  are  told  that  over-con- 
fidence in  the  hattle-cruisers  led  to  their  taking  an  undue 
share  of  hard  knocks,  and  that  it  would  have  been  more 
prudent  to  let  them  draw  the  German  battleships  to 
within  range  of  the  British  battleships  fast  coming  to 
their  relief. 

Other  naval  officers  expressed  similar  views. 
Even  Admiral  Dewey  spoke  of  the  unfitness  of 
the  battle-cruiser  to  play  a  leading  role  in  naval 
dramas,  and  Captain  W.  S.  Sims  was  evidently 
of  the  opinion  that  the  Battle-Cruiser  Fleet  had 
attacked  the  main  body  of  the  German  Fleet  on 
sight.  It  was  not  until  the  dispatch  of  Sir  John 
Jellicoe  and  report  of  Sir  David  Beatty  were 
published  that  these  mistaken  inferences  were 
corrected,  and  it  was  made  abundantly  clear  that 
such  conclusions  found  no  warrant  in  the  facts. 

On  Tuesday,  May  30,  the  ships  of  the  Grand 
Fleet  left  their  anchorages  by  instructions  from 
the  Commander-in-Cliief  to  carry  out  one  of 
those  periodical  sweeps  of  the  Xorth  Sea  of 
which  the  first  to  be  announced  was  mentioned 
in  an  official  communique  as  far  back  as  Sep- 
tember 10,  1914,  and  many  of  which  had  been 
carried  out  at  intervals  since  the  beginning  of 
the  war.  Sir  John  Jellicoe  made  it  clear  in  his 
dispatch  that  every  part  of  the  Grand  Fleet 
was  under  his  command,  and  was  operating  in 
accordance  with  his  orders.  From  the  state- 
ments of  visitors  to  the  Fleet,  it  was  known  to 


[Maull  &  Fox. 

CAPTAIN    CHARLES    J.    WINTOUR, 

Commanded  the  Destroyer  "  Tipperary.' 

have  been  in  three  sections,  and  a  few  days 
earlier  the  Battle-Cruiser  Fleet  was  reported  as 
being  in  the  Firth  of  Forth.  It  is  essential  to 
note  that  the  concerted  movements  of  the  Fleet 
were  made  on  Tuesday,  because  it  thus  becomes 
clear  that  the  enemy  could  have  had  no  certain 
knowledge  that  the  Grand  Fleet  was  at  sea. 
The  location  of  the  sections  of  the  Fleet  might 
have  been  discovered  by  Zeppelins  in  the  day- 
time, but  these  could  not  have  seen  and  re- 
ported the  movements  of  the  ships  after  dark. 
Similarly,  the  survivors  of  the  Elbing  when 
landed  in  Holland  stated  that  the  High  Sea 
Fleet  had  put  to  sea  at  4  a.m.  on  the  morning 
of  Wednesday,  May  31.  This  movement, 
therefore,  could  not  have  been  the  cause  of  the 
Grand  Fleet's  putting  to  sea  on  the  previous 
afternoon.  An  unusual  briskness  and  stir  had, 
indeed,  been  reported  at  Wilhelmshaven  and 
Kiel.  Both  Fleets  were  no  doubt  fully  prepared 
for  battle  when  they  left  port,  but  the  actual 
meeting  appears  to  have  happened  by  chance. 
The  object  of  the  sweeps  made  by  the  Grand 
Fleet  was  clear.  The  intention  was  to  meet 
the  enemy,  if  he  could  be  found,  and  to  engage 
him.  The  sole  purpose  in  view  was  his  annihi- 
lation as  an  effective  force.  The  sweeps,  it  may 
be  said,  were  made  in  conformity  with  the  policy 
adumbrated  by  Nelson,  "  The  enemy  are  still 
in  port,  but  something  must  be  done  to  provoke 
cr  lure  them  to  a  battle."  It  may  be  asked, 
on  the  other  hand,  whether  the  Germans  had 

108—3 


V.)i 


"HE    TIMES    HISTORY    OF    THE    WAR. 


THE  COURSE  OF  THE  BATTLE  OF  JUTLAND  BANK. 


THE    TIMES    HISTORY    OF    THE    WAR. 


135 


any  serious  undertaking  in  view  in  coming  out 
as  they  did.  Probably  they  had,  first,  because 
nothing  they  had  done  had  lacked  purpose,  and 
secondly,  they  had  certain  advantages  which 
were  denied  to  their  opponents.  The  fleet 
which  keeps  the  sea  cannot  always  be  at  its 
maximum  strength.  As  Admiral  W.  H.  Hen- 
derson pointed  out*  : — 

Refits  and  repairs  require  constant  attendance,  and 
although  our  Fleet  is  superior  to  that  of  the  enemy  it 
is  not  possible  to  count  upon  all  the  ships  of  which  it  is 
composed  being  perpetually  on  the  spot.  .  .  .  The 
Queen  Elizabeth  and  the  Australia  appear  to  have  been 
absent  from  the  battle,  or  over  13  per  cent,  of  the 
strength  of  our  fast  divisions.  Can  anyone  doubt  what 
the  addition  of  those  two  ships  would  have  meant  to  the 
hardly-pressed  and  splendidly-fought  squadrons  during 
the  time  in  which  they  were  engaged  with  superior 
force. 

The  Germans  could  select  the  moment  to  appear 
when  they  were  at  their  full  strength,  and  of 
this  they  evidently  took  advantage.  It  was 
obviously  their  correct  plan  to  look  for  an 
opportunity  to  cut  off  and  destroy  any  unit  of 
the  opposed  force  inferior  in  strength,  and 
separated  so  far  from  its  main  body  as  to  be 
dealt  with  before  support  could  be  obtained. 
By  such  tactics  the  material  strength  of  the 
fleets  might  be  more  equally  balanced.  The 
semi-official  statement  from  Berlin  on  June  5 
that  "  the  German  High  Sea  forces  pushed 
forward  in  order  to  engage  portions  of  the 
British  Fleet  which  were  repeatedly  reported 
recently  to  be  off  the  south  coast  of  Norway  " 
may  well  have  referred  to  the  "  enterprise 
directed  northward  "  of  the  first  official  com- 
munique, issued  on  June  1.  It  was  possible 
that  by  means  of  Zeppelins  the  Germans 
had  discovered  that  the  periodical  sweeps  were 
not  always  carried  out  by  the  whole  of  the 
Grand  Fleet.  When,  therefore,  the  British 
Battle-Cruiser  Fleet  was  sighted  by  Hipper's 
scouts  on  Wednesday  afternoon,  it  would  have 
been  a  natural  conclusion  to  draw  that  a 
chance  had  presented  itself  to  attack  with  their 
full  force  a  weaker  British  division,  and  thus 
to  gain  a  comparatively  easy  success.  If  this 
was  their  endeavour,  it  was  completely  frus- 
trated by  the  dogged  tenacity  of  Sir  David 
Beatty,  with  the  effective  support  supplied  by 
Rear-Admiral  Evan-Thomas,  and  the  decisive 
stroke  of  the  Commander-in-Chief  when  he 
arrived  on  the  scene  of  action.  In  any  case 
there  was  no  sign  of  an  intention  to  seriously 
contest  the  command  of  the  sea,  of  a  plan  for 
breaking  the  blockade,  or  of  an  adventure  into 
the  Atlantic.  Such  projects  could  only  be  carried 
*  Contemporary  Review,  July,  1916. 


[Russell. 

COMMANDER  SIR  C.    R.  BLANE,  BART., 
H.M.S.   "Queen  Mary"   (killed). 

out  successfully  after  the  British  naval  forces 
had  been  depleted  by  attrition,  and  that  this  was 
recognized  by  the  Germans  was  shown  by  their 
immediate  retirement  when  it  was  seen  that  the 
battle  squadrons  of  Sir  John  Jellicoe  were  join- 
ing in  the  battle.  Both  sides  wanted  a  fight,  but 
the  Germans  only  on  their  own  terms. 

A  further  advantage  would  be  obtained  by 
the  Germans,  should  an  engagement  occur, 
if  they  could  contrive  to  bring  it  about  nearer 
to  their  own  ports  than  to  those  of  the  enemy. 
Although  not  due  directly  to  their  own  efforts, 
it  is  nevertheless  the  fact  that  this  happened. 
The  locality  in  which  the  battle  began  was  in 
the  vicinity  of  the  Little  Fisher  Bank,  and 
to  the  westward  of  the  Jutland  Bank,  two  shoal 
patches  at  no  great  distance  from  the  Danish 
coast.  The  approximate  position  of  the  British 
Battle-Cruiser  Fleet  on  sighting  the  German 
battle-cruisers  was  somewhere  about  56deg., 
50min.  North  latitude,  and  5deg.  30min.  East 
longitude.  This  position  is  nearly  twice  as  far 
from  the  British  coast  as  it  is  from  that  of 
Germany.  When  the  battle  came  to  an  end 
on  the  morning  of  June  1,  while  the  retreating 
German  ships  had  approached  much  closer  to 
their  own  ports,  the  Grand  Fleet  was  over  400 


115(5 


THE     TIMES    HISTORY    OF     THE    WAR. 


miles  from  its  main  base,  and  its  other  bases 
were  all  considerably  farther  away  than  the 
German  ports.  Between  the  two  positions 
which  marked  the  beginning  and  the  end  of  tie 
encounter,  the  Horn  Rett'  projects  from  the 
Danish  coast  about  ten  miles,  its  outlying  point 
marked  by  a  light  vessel,  and  the  action  was 
certainly  nearer  to  this  reef  than  to  the  Skager 
Rak.  This  explains  why  the  encounter  was 
sometimes  called  in  this  country  after  the  Horn 
Reef,  which  was  much  more  appropriate  than 
to  call  it  after  the  Skager  Rak,  as  the  Germans 
did.     Apparently  they  wished  to  suggest  that 


Name. 
Royal  Sovereign 


Queen  Elizabeth  (Fifth 

Squadron) 
Iron  Duke  (First  Squadron) 

Orion  (Second  Squadron)   ... 


Dreadnought  (Fourth 

Squadron) 


Lion  (First  Squadron) 

New  Zealand  (Second 

Squadron) 

Indomitable  (Third 

Squadron) 

Defence  (First  Squadron)  ... 

Achilles  (Second  Squadron) 

Black  Prince  (First 

Squadron) 

Galatea  (First  Squadron)   ... 


Southampton  (Second 

Squadron) 

Falmouth  (Third  Squadron) 

Calliope  (Fourth  Squadron) 

Fearless  (First  Flotilla) 

Tipperary 

Pelican 

Onslow 
Nestor 

Moresby 


THE 

GRAND    FLEET. 

TYPES  OF 

SHIPS. 

Battleships. 

Belt 

Date. 

Tons. 

Speed. 

Armament. 

Armoi 

1916 

25,750 

2  J 

8  15-in., 
12  6-in. 

13  -in. 

1915 

27,500 

25 

8  15-in., 
12  6-in. 

13-in. 

191  + 

25,000 

21 

10  13-5-in. 
12  6-in. 

12-in. 

1912 

23,000 

21 

10  13-5-in., 
16  4-in. 

12-in. 

1900 

17,900 

21 

10  12-in.. 
4-in.  or  12-pr. 

1 1  -in. 

B 

attlk-Cjv 

:;isers. 

1912 

26,350 

28 

8  13-5-in., 
16  4-in. 

9-in. 

1912 

18,800 

25 

8  12-in., 
16  4-in. 

7-in. 

1908 

17,250 

25 

8  12-in., 
16  4-in. 

7  in. 

Armoured  C 

RUISERS. 

1909 

14,600 

23 

4  9-2-in., 
10  7-5-in. 

6-in. 

1907 

13,550 

225 

6  9-2-in. 
4  7-5-in. 

6-in. 

1906 

13.550 

o->  i 

6  9-2-in. 

6-in. 

1915 

1913 

1911 
1915 

1913 

1914 

1916 
1916 
1915 

1914 


they  had  no  advantage  from  the  scene  of  the 
battle  being  in  the  vicinity  of  their  defended 
harbours.     This,   however,   was   not   the   case. 

Some  uncertainty  exists  as  to  the  identity  of 
all  the  ships  which  took  part  in  the  action.  A 
note  appended  to  the  dispatch  of  Sir  John 
Jellicoe  says  :  "  The  list  of  ships  and  com- 
manding officers  which  took  part  in  the  action 
has  been  withheld  from  publication  for  the 
present  in  accordance  with  practice."  It  was 
believed  that  vessels  from  all  the  types  in  the 
following  table  were  present  : 


r.  Sister. Ships. 

Revenge,  etc. 

Warspite,  Valiant,  Barham, 
Malaya. 

Marlborough,  Emperor  of 
India,  Ben  bow. 

Conqueror,  Monarch,  Thun- 
derer, King  GJeorge  V., 
Ajax,  Audacious,  Cen- 
turion. 

Bellerophon,  Temeraire,  Su- 
perb, St.  Vincent,  Colling- 
vvood,  Vanguard,  Neptune, 
Colossus,  Hercules. 

Princess  Royal,  Queen  Mary, 

Tiger. 
Indefatigable,  Australia. 

Inflexible,  Invincible. 


10  6-in. 


Light  Cruisers. 


5,100 

5,250 
3,800 

3,440 

J. 850 


29 

251 
25.V 


2  6-in 
8  4-in 


8  or  9  6-in. 


30 

2  6-in 

8  4-in 

25.1 

ESTR 

•  VERS 

10  4-in 

11 


Particulars  unknown, 
['art iculars  unknown. 
Particulars  unknown. 

Particulars   unknown. 


Landrail 

1913 

965 

Acasta  ("  Ii  ' 

'  type) 

1912 

935 

Badger  ("I" 

type)... 

19)1 

780 

Abdiel 
Engadiue 

— 

Partici 

Seapli 

3  4-in 
3  4-in 


-  4-in., 
■2  12-pdrs. 


Minotaur,  Shannon. 
Cochrane,  Warrior. 
Duke  of  Edinburgh. 


Aurora,  Inconstant,  Royalist, 
Penelope,  Phaeton,"  Un- 
daunted. 

Chatham,  Dublin,  Birming- 
ham, Lowestoft,  Notting- 
ham. 

Dartmouth,  Falmouth, Wey- 
mouth, Yarmouth. 

Caroline,  Caryslort,  Cham- 
pion, Cleopatra,  Comus, 
Conquest,  Cordelia. 

Active,  Blanche,  Blonde, 
Belloua,  Boadieea. 

Botha,  Turbulent,  Terma- 
gant, and  others. 

Petard,  etc. 

Onslaught,  Obdurate,  etc. 

Nomad,  Nicator,  Nar- 
borough,  Nerissa,  etc. 

Manly,  Mansfield,  Mastiff, 
Matchless,  Mentor.  Meteor, 
Milne,  Minos  Miranda, 
Moorsom,  Morris,  Murray, 
Myngs,  etc. 

Lydiard,  Lalorey,  Lookout, 
Legion,  etc. 

Ardent,  Fortune,  Garland, 
Ambuscade.  Shark,  Spar- 
rowhawk,  Spitfire,  etc. 

Defender,  Attack,  Hornet, 
Phoenix,  etc. 


MlSCELLANEOL 


THE    TIMER    HISTORY    OF    THE    WAR. 


137 


GERMAN    SUBMARINES    ATTACHED    TO    THE    HIGH    SEA    FLEET. 


With  regard  to  the  Grand  .  Fleet,  the  com- 
position of  the  battle  squadrons  was  not  dis- 
closed, the' names  of  only  a  few  of  the  vessels 
being  mentioned.  Sir  John  Jellicoe  refers  to 
the  movements  of  three  squadrons — the  First, 
Second,  and  Fourth,  in  the  last-named  of  which 
his  flagship,  the  Iron  Duke,  was  placed.  The 
Marlborough  was  the  flagship'  ot  Sir  Cecil 
Burney  in  the  First  Squadron  ;  and  the  King 
George  V.  of  Sir  Thomas  Jerram  in  the  Second 
Squadron.  According  to  the  German  account, 
a  squadron  of  three  ships  of  the  Royal  Sovereign 
type  was  also  present.  One  of  these  was  men- 
tioned by  the  Commander-in-Chief,  who  stated 
that  when  the  Marlborough  was  partially  dis- 
abled by  a  torpedo  Sir  Cecil  Burney  transferred 
his  flag  to  the  Revenge,  of  the  Royal  Sovereign 
class.  The  Fifth  Battle  Squadron,  which 
supported  the  Battle-Cruiser  Fleet,  consisted 
of  four  ships  of  the  Queen  Elizabeth  type,  but 
the  name-ship  was  absent  refitting.  Rear- 
Admiral  Hugh  Evan-Thomas  flew  his  flag  in  the 
Barham. 

The  nine  battle-cruisers  present  on  the  British 
side  were  organized  in  three  squadrons,  com- 
manded respectively  by  Rear- Admirals  O.  de 


B.  Brock,  W.  C.  Pakenham,  and  the  Hon. 
H.  L.  A.  Hood.  The  Princess  Royal  flew  the 
flag  of  the  first  -named  :  the  New  Zealand  that 
of  Admiral  Pakenham  ;  and  the  Invincible 
that  of  Admiral  Hood.  The  flag  of  Vice- 
Admiral  Sir  David  Beatty,  Commanding  the 
Battle-Cruiser  Fleet,  was  flying  in  the  Lion. 
The  five  other  battle-cruisers  were  the  Queen 
Mary,  Tiger,  Indefatigable,  Indomitable,  and 
Inflexible.  Admiral  Beatty  also  had  under  his 
command  the  First,  Second,  and  Third  Light 
Cruiser  Squadrons,  and  destroyers  from  the 
First,  Ninth,  Tenth,  and  Thirteenth  Flotillas 
With  the  Commander-in-Chief  and  the  battle 
squadrons  were  the  First  and  Second  Cruiser 
Squadrons,  the  Fourth  Light  Cruiser  Squadron, 
and  destroyers  from  the  Fourth,  Eleventh,  and 
Twelfth  Flotillas.  There  were  also  a  number 
of  special  and  auxiliary  types  represented,  in- 
cluding the  Engadine,  seaplane-carrier. 

There  is  more  doubt  about  the  composition 
of  the  German  High  Sea  Fleet,  under  the  com- 
mand of  Vice-Admiral  Scheer,  which  accord- 
ing to  the  German  account  consisted  of  ?a 
main  battle  fleet  in  three  squadrons,  and  a 
reconnoitring  fleet  of  five  battle-cruisers  under 


THE    GERMAN    BATTLE-CRUISER    "SEYDLITZ,"    CAPTAIN    VON    EGIDY. 
Reported  to  have  been  seriously  damaged  in  the  battle. 


138 


THE    TIMES    HISTORY    OF    THE    WAR. 


Vice-Admiral  Hipper,  with  light  cruisers  and 
destroyers  attached  to  both  divisions.  The 
heavier  vessels  were  probably  of  the  types  in  the 
table  below  : 


presence  of  which  would  nocessarily  reduce 
the  speed  and  fighting  capacity  of  the  whole 
force. 

Admiral  Hipper's  five  battle-cruisers  are  said, 


THE    HIGH    SEA    FLEET. 


TYPES   OF 

SHIPS. 

Battleships. 

Belt 

Name. 

Date. 

Tons. 

Speed. 

Armament. 

Armour 

Sister-Ships. 

Wilhelm  IT.  (ex-Worth)      .. 

1916 

29,000 

21 

8  15 -in., 
16  5-9- in. 

— , 

"  T." 

"N  "  (ex-Salamis)  ... 

1910 

19,200 

23 

8  14-in., 
12  6-in. 

10-in. 

Unknown. 

Konig 

1914 

25.387 

21 

10  12-in.. 
14  5-9-in. 

14-in. 

Markgraf,  Grosser  Kurlurst, 
Kronprinz. 

Kaiser 

1913 

24,310 

21 

10  12-in., 
14  5-9-in. 

14-in. 

Kaiserin,  Friedrich  der 
Crosse,  Konig  Albert, 
Prinzregent  Luitpold. 

Helgoland 

1911 

22,500 

20  J 

12  12-in., 

12-in. 

Ostfriesland,           Thuringen, 

14  5-9-in. 

Oldenburg. 

Nassau 

1909 

18,600 

20| 

12  11-in., 

12  5-9-in. 
4  11-in., 

12-in. 

Westl'alen,  Rheinland,  Posen. 

Deutschland ... 

1906 

13,040 

L8J 

9 1 -in. 

Hannover,  Pommern,  Schle- 

14  6-7-in. 

sien,  Schlqswig-Holstein. 

Braunschweig 

1904 

12,907 

18 

4  11-in., 
14  6-7-in. 

9-in, 

Elsass,  Preussen,  Lothrin- 
gen,  Hessen. 

Battle-Cruisei  s 

Hindenburg  ... 

1910 

28,000 

27 

8  15-in., 
14  5-9-in. 

— 

Unknown. 

Liitzow 

1915 

28,000 

27 

8  12-in., 
12  5-9-in. 

11-in. 

Derfninger. 

Seydlitz 

1913 

24,640 

26 

10  11-in., 
12  5-9-in. 

11-in. 

Moltke. 

Von  der  Tann 

1911 

18,700 

2.3 

8  11-in., 
10  5-9-in. 

6-in. 

None. 

Armoured  Cruiser. 
1905  9,£50  21  4  8-2  in., 

10  5-9-in. 


4  -in . 


Accepting  the  German  statement,  the  First 
Squadron  of  eight  battleships  would  probably 
be  composed  of  the  Konig  and  Kaiser  types  ; 
the  Second  of  the  Helgoland  and  Nassau  types  ; 
and  the  Third  of  pre-Dreadnought  ships,  the 
Deutschlands  and  Braunschweigs.  There  is 
reason  to  believe,  however,  that  two  new  battle- 
ships, which  were  known  when  building  as  the 
Ersatz-Worth  and  "  T,"  were  present.  The 
former  is  said  to  have  been  named  the  Wil- 
he'm  II.  It  was  on  board  a  new  ship  of  this 
name  that  Admirals  Scheer  and  Hipper  re- 
ceived the  freedom  of  Wilhelmshaven  a  few 
weeks  after  the  battle.  It  was  also  suggested 
that  the  Pommern,  a  vessel  of  which  name  the 
Germans  admitted  was  sunk  in  the  action,  was 
not  the  old  pre-Dreadnought  ship  of  this  name — 
which  was  understood  to  have  been  torpedoed 
in  the  Baltic  by  a  British  submarine  in  July, 
1915 — but  the  much  more  modern  and  power- 
ful vessel  known  as  "  T."  Another  possibility 
is  that  the  vessel  named  the  Salamis,  which 
was  building  in  Germany  for  the  Greeks  when 
the  war  broke  out,  took  part  in  the  battle  under 
some  other  name.  At  all  events,  it  is  difficult 
to  believe  that  the  homogeneity  of  the  German 
squadrons  -would  have  been  broken  by  the 
inclusion    of    some    of    the    older     ships,     the 


in  the  German  official  account,  to  have  consisted 
of  the  Derfflinger  and  Moltke  classes,  as  well  as 
the  Von  der  Tann.  The  Liitzow,  in  which 
Admiral  Hipper's  flag  was  flying  during  part  of 
the  action,  was  the  sister-ship  of  the  Derfflinger, 
and  the  Seydlitz  of  the  Moltke.  Some  British 
observers  were  of  opinion  that  a  later  battle- 
cruiser,  the  Hindenburg,  was  present,  and  not 
the  Von  der  Tann,  and  this  is  the  more  likely,  as 
the  inclusion  of  the  latter  would  have  tended  to 
reduce  the  speed  of  the  squadron. 

Thus  at  about  two  o'clock  on  the  afternoon 
of  Wednesday,  May  31,  two  large  naval  forces 
were  approaching  one  another  in  the  North 
Sea.  Each  of  these  forces  consisted  of  a  main 
body  comprising  three  squadrons  of  their  latest 
battleships.  Each  also  had  an  advanced  or 
reconnoitring  squadron  of  battle-cruisers  thrown 
out  some  distance  before  the  main  body.  Each, 
too,  was  accompanied  by  satellites,  seme  of 
which  w-ere  still  more  advanced,  for  scouting 
purposes,  and  as  a  protective  screen  against 
submarines.  It  is  characteristic  of  the  sea 
operations  that  two  such  bodies  as  these,  each 
containing  all  the  latest  scientific  appliances 
for  sea  fighting,  although  they  might  be  cruising 
in  the  same  waters,  might  seldcm  ccme  into 


THE    TIMES    HISTORY    OF    THE    WAR. 


139 


A    SCENE    OF    THE    MIDNIGHT    BATTLE. 

Engagement  of  one    of  the    British    destroyers  with  German  cruisers,  as  revealed  by  German  star-shells, 

and    firelight    caused    by  a   huge  shell  which    struck    the    British   vessel.       Caught    between  two  fires   and 

fighting   to   the    last,    the   officers   and    men  of  the    destroyer  gave    a    good    account  of   themselves   before 

she  sank.     The  German  vessel  was  badly  damaged  by  a  torpedo. 


contact,  and  that  months  might  elapse  without 
an  engagement.  Even  when  they  do  meet,  it 
does   not   follow   that   there   is   continuity   of 


fighting,  such  as  may  be  observed  in  the  clash 
of  armies  on  land. 

It  was,  as  Sir  David  Beatty  tells  us,  a.  fine 


140 


THE    TIMES    HISTORY    OF    THE    WAR. 


afternoon,  with  a  light  wind  from  the  south- 
east, the  sea  calm,  and  the  visibility — that  is  to 
say,  the  range  of  vision — fairly  good.  At 
about  2.30  the  satellites  of  the  two  bodies 
sighted  one  another.  Some  Dutch  fishermen 
who  were  present,  described  this  first  meeting 
of  the  light  cruisers  which  were  thrown  out 
before  the  battle-cruiser  squadrons. 

Now  it  was  that  there  occurred  one  of 
those  incidents  which  illustrate  the  change 
in  the  conduct  of  sea  fighting.     Whether  the 


master  G.  S.  Trewin,  as  observer,  quickly  recon- 
noitred to  the  cast -north-east : 

Owing  to  clouds  it  was  necessary  to  fly  very  low,  and 
in  order  to  identify  four  enemy  light  cruisers  the  sea- 
plane had  to  fly  at  a  height  of  900  ft.  within  3,000  yards 
of  thern,  the  light  cruisers  opening  fire  on  her  with 
every  gun  that  would  bear 

The  information  obtained  in  this  way  indicated 
the  value  of  such  observations.  It  may  be 
remarked,  however,  that  in  clear  weather,  and 
under  favourable  conditions,  observations  might 
be  made   from   Zeppelins   for  far  greater  dis- 


VICE-ADMIRAL    SIR   CHARLES    MADDEN, 
K.C.B,   C.V.O.,  Chief  of  Staff. 

Germans  were  accompanied  by  Zeppelin  scouts 
remains  uncertain.  It  was  suggested  that 
they  might  have  been  present,  because  of 
the  reference  in  the  official  German  version 
of  the  battle  to  observations  which  were 
indubitably  reliable,  and  because  the  Danish 
fishermen  reported  that  they  saw  two  airships 
near  the  coast  of  Denmark.  But  the  British 
certainly  made  use  of  an  air  scout,  for  on  a 
report  from  the  Galatea,  Commodore  E.  S. 
Alexander-Sinclair,  who  with  the  First  Light 
Cruiser  Squadron  was  scouting  to  the  east- 
ward, Sir  David  Beatty  ordered  a  seaplane 
to  be  sent  up  from  the  Engadine,  Lieut. -Com. 
C.  G.  Robinson,  and  this  machine,  with  Flight- 
Lieut.  F.  J.  Rutland  as  pilot,  and  Asst.-Pay- 


W^BBSSBKHKBKK^BKKi 

.  Aim 

^/Ffm 

W  ■ ' 

W       j&*r^ 

.,vvK.'v<'^R8S;                                        „  _*_i«I^*I^^S 

v5! 

\y% 

* 

if  % 

4 

1 

[Russell. 
COMMODORE    LIONEL   HALSEY,    C.M.G., 
"Iron  Duke,"  Captain  of  the  Fleet. 

tances.  It  has  been  calculated  that  the  radius 
of  vision  of  observers  in  these  airships  at 
10,000  feet  is  about  90  miles.  As  the  distance 
by  which  the  battle-cruiser  squadrons  on  either 
side  were  separated  frcm  their  main  bodies 
could  not  have  been  more  than  40  or  50  miles 
at  the  most,  a  Zeppelin  at  the  above-named 
height  should  have  been  able,  on  a  clear  after- 
noon, to  have  seen  both  the  approaching  battle 
squadrons  There  was  nothing,  however,  to 
indicate  that  this  knowledge  was  available  to 
either  fleet. 

The  admirals  commanding  the  battle-cruiser 
squadrons  became  aware  of  the  proximity  and 
of  the  strength  of  one  another  at  about  th6 
same  time.     Their  proceedings  illustrated  one 


THE    TIMES    HISTORY    OF    THE    WAR. 


141 


THE    GERMAN    LIGHT 
Officially  admitted  to  have 

■of  the  functions  such  vessels  are  built  to  per- 
form. The  purpose  of  the  battle-cruiser  was 
twofold.  It  was  to  be  a  commerce  protector, 
its  speed  and  weight  of  armament  enabling 
it  to  catch  and  overwhelm  sea  wolves  preying 
on  the  trade,  as  was  shown  by  Vice-Admiral 
Sturdee's  victory  at  the  action  off  the  Falkland 
Islands.  Its  other  purpose  was  to  push  home 
a  reconnaissance — to  sweep  away  the  protecting 
-screen  scouting  for  the  enemy,  and  again  by 
its  speed  and  power  to  get  near  enough  to 
find  out  the  composition  of  the  approaching 
foe.  In  this  instance,  Vice-Admiral  Hipper, 
■discovering  his  force  to  be  inferior  to  that  of 
his  opponent,  promptly  turned  to  retire  on  . 
liis  main  body.  Sir  David  Beatty,  not  yet 
aware  whether  there  was  any  main  body 
behind  Hipper,  altered  course  and  proceeded 
-at  full  speed  in  a  direction  which  would  enable 
him  to  make  the  discovery  or  to  cut  off  the 
•enemy  cruisers  from  their  base.  There  was, 
therefore,    no  .  question    of    undue    risk.     Sir 


CRUISER    "ROSTOCK." 
been  sunk  in  the  battle. 

David  Beatty,  with  superior  force,  was  carry- 
ing out  the  primary  purpose  for  which  his 
vessels  had  been  created.  It  is  true  that 
while  he  was  steaming  awaj'  from  his  main 
forces,  Hipper  was  steaming  towards  his 
friends  ;  but  it  should  be  noted  that  although 
the  distance  in  the  latter  case  was  decreasing 
at  the  rate  of  the  combined  speeds  of  the 
squadrons,  the  distance  between  Sir  David 
and  the  British  battle  fleet  was  only  increasing 
by  the  difference  in  the  speeds  of  the  two 
bodies.  The  first  stage  of  the  battle,  then, 
took  on  a  similar  form  to  that  of  the  action 
off  the  Dogger  Bank  on  January  24,  1915. 
Hipper's  five  battle-cruisers  were  flying  back 
to  the  south-east,  from  which  direction  von 
Scheer  was  advancing,  while  the  six  heavier 
and  more  powerful  British  vessels  were  in 
chase.  The  latter,  moreover,  were  supported 
by  the  four  ships  of  the  Fifth  Battle  Squadron 
under  Rear-Admiral  Hugh  Evan-Thomas,  be- 
tween five  and  six  miles  to  the  north-westward. 


THE    GERMAN    PRE-DREADNOUGHT    BATTLESHIP    "POMMERN. 
Officially  admitted  to  have  been  sunk  by  a  torpedo  on  the  night  of  May  31. 


142 


THE    TIMES    HISTORY    Ob     THE    WAR. 


Summing  up  the  position  at  this  stage,  Sir 
David  Beatty  said  :  "  The  visibility  at  this 
time  was  good,  the  sun  behind  us  and  the 
wind  south-east.  Being  between  the  enemy 
and  his  base,  our  situation  was  both  tactically 
and  strategically  pood." 

At  3.48  p.m.  the  opposed  forces  had  closed 
to  a  range  of  about  18,500  yards,  and  the  action 
began.  Both  sides  opened  fire  practically 
simultaneously,  steaming  on  parallel  lines.  It 
was  a  little  later  that  there  occurred  one  of 
those  catastrophic  strokes  of  fortune  which 
have  been  made  possible  by  the  tremendous 
power  locked  up  in  the  modern  engines  of 
battle.  The  ships  on  both  sides  were  vigorously 
engaged,  when  suddenly  a  heavy  explosion 
was  caused  in  the  last  ship  of  the  British  line, 
the  Indefatigable.  A  black  column  of  smoke 
400  feet  high  shot  upwards,  said  the  German 
account,  hiding  the  ship,  and  when  it  cleared 
away  a  little  later  the  cruiser  had  disappeared. 
Out  of  her  ship's  company  of  about  900  officers 
and  men,  only  two  are  believed  to  have  sur- 
vived. The  fighting,  we  are  told,  was  of  a 
very  fierce  and  resolute  character,  and  as  the 
good  marksmanship  of  the  British  vessels 
began  to  tell,  the  accuracy  and  rapidity  of 
that  of  the  enemy  depreciated.  The  Fifth 
Battle  Squadron,  too,  had  come  into  action, 
and  opened  fire  at  a  range  of  20,000  yards 
upon  the  enemy's  rear  ships.  At  4.18  the 
third  ship  in  the  enemy's  line  was  seen  to  be 
on  fire,  but  soon  afterwards  another  tragic 
misfortune  befell  the  British  squadron.  The 
magnificent  battle-cruiser  Queen  Mary  was 
vitally  hit,  and  with  a  terrific  explosion, 
which  appeared  to  blow  her  hull  asunder,  also 
disappeared.  The  loss  of  life  in  her  case  was 
terrible  also,  for  she  had  at  least  1,000  people 
in  her,  and  only  about  a  score  were  saved. 
In  modern  warfare  seamen  have  to  face  perils 
unknown  to  their  predecessors,  for  in  the  old 
wars  ships  were  more  often  captured  than 
sunk.  Now  the  sacrifice  is  demanded  with 
awful  suddenness,  and  in  a  moment  the  whole 
of  a  ship's  company  may  be  added  to  the  list 
of  those  brave  men  who  have  died  at  their 
post  of  duty. 

It  was  in  this  run  to  the  southward  that  the 
German  gunners  displayed  their  best  qualities. 
The  manner  in  which  they  concentrated  the 
fire  of  several  ships  and  bunched  their  salvoes 
on  an  object  was  remarkable.  With  regard 
to  the  loss  of  Beatty's  two  cruisers,  an  officer 
of  one  of  the  larger  vessels  gave  in  the  Daily 


Mail  what  appeared  to  be  a  possible  explana- 
tion.    He  said  : 

They  were  purely  chance  shots  which  brought  about 
their  destruction.  The  armour  would  have  withstood 
any  amount  of  shell -fire. 

Under  the  deadly  hail  from  the  British  ships, 
however,  the  quality  of  the  German  gimnery 
fell  off,  and  their  fire  became  far  less  effective, 
whereas  the  result  of  that  from  Beatty's  ships 
became  more  marked  every  moment.  For 
an  hour  all  but  six  minutes  the  engagement 
continued  to  the  southward,  when  the  enemy's 
battle  fleet,  in  three  divisions,  was  sighted  by 
the  Southampton,  Commodore  W.  E.  Good- 
enough,  and  reported  to  the  Vice-Admiral. 
Thereupon  Sir  David  Beatty,  having  attained 
one  purpose,  proceeded  to  carry  out  another. 
He  had  driven  in,  by  superior  force,  the  enemy's 
advance  guard,  and  had  discovered  the  compo- 
sition and  direction  of  their  main  force.  At 
the  same  time,  he  had  prevented  the  enemy's 
scouts  from  approaching  his  own  main  body 
in  order  to  obtain  similar  information.  This 
was  not  falling  into  a  trap,  but,  if  trap  there 
was,  he  now  set  it.  Turning  his  squadron 
round — the  ships  altering  course  in  succession 
to  starboard — he  proceeded  northwards  to  lead 
the  enemy  towards  his  own  battle  fleet.  The 
Fifth  Battle  Squadron,  following  in  his  wake, 
but  more  to  the  southward,  came  into  action 
with  the  van  of  the  enemy's  battle  fleet,  which 
Admiral  Hipper,  who  had  also  turned,  was 
now  leading  on  a  parallel  course  to  the  British 
squadron's.  Possibly  the  Germans  assumed 
that  Beatty  and  Thomas  were  unsupported, 
and  that  the  odds  now  in  his  favour  offered 
von  Scheer  the  opportunity  for  which  he  had 
been  looking.  If  so,  he  was  to  be  disillusioned. 
Thus  ended  the  first  stage  of  the  contest. 

With  the  second  stage  there  came  about  a 
change  in  the  conditions  of  light  and  visibility. 
The  British  ships  were  silhouetted  against  a 
clear  horizon  to  the  westward,  with  the  setting 
sun  behind  them,  while  the  enemy,  obscured  in 
an  increasing  veil  of  mist,  presented  very  indis- 
tinct outlines.  It  says  a  good  deal  for  British 
moral  and  marksmanship  that,  despite  these 
disadvantages,  during  the  northward  run  "  the 
enemy  received  very  severe  punishment,  and 
one  of  their  battle -cruisers  quitted  the  line  in  a 
considerably  damaged  condition."  Other  of  the 
ships  also  showed  signs  of  increasing  injury. 
Beatty's  battle-cruisers  had  been  reduced  to 
four,  and  at  an  interval  behind  them  were  the 
four  fast  battleships   of   the   Queen   Elizabeth 


THE    TIMES    HISTOEY    OF    THE    WAR. 


143 


THE  END  OF  THE  DESTROYER  "SHARK." 
After  being  engaged  about  ten  minutes,  the  British  destroyer 
was  struck  by  two  torpedoes,  which  sank  her  almost  at  once. 
But  before  she  settled  down  the  "Shark"  fired  her  last 
available  torpedo.  The  portrait  is  of  Loftus  W.  Jones, 
Commander    of    the    "Shark,"    who    was    killed    in    action. 


144 


THE    TIMES    HISTORY    OE    THE    WAR. 


type,  the  latter  being  engaged  not  only  with 

Hipper's  force  but  with  that  of  von  Sehecr  as 

well.    The  range  between  the  two  lines  was  st ill 

about    14,000    yards.     An    officer    in    Admiral 

Evan-Thomas's  squadron  wrote  : 

Wo  were  at  this  time  receiving  a  very  heavy  fire 
indeed,  our  own  battle-cruisers  having  become  dis- 
engaged for  twenty  minutes  to  half  an  hour,  so  that  the 
fire  of  tho  whole  German  Fleet  was  concentrated  on  us. 
Especially  unpleasant  was  a  period  of  half  an  hour, 
during  which  we  were  unable  to  see  the  enemy,  while 
they  could  see  us  clearly.  Thus  we  were  unable  to  fire 
a  shot,  and  had  to  rest  content,  with  steaming  through 
a  tornado  of  shell-fire  without  loosing  off  a  gun,  which 
was  somewhat  trying. 

It  should  be  borne  in  mind,  however,  that  at 
this  time  Beatty  was  getting  into  a  position  to 
hustle  the  Germans  over  to  the  eastward,  and 
towards  the  Danish  shore,  while  help  was  coming 
to  the  sorely  tried  British  force  at  the  rate  of 
the  combined  speeds  of  the  British  battle  fleet 
and  the  contending  forces  moving  to  the 
northward.  That  no  serious  loss  occurred  on  the 
British  side  during  tliis,  the  most  critical,  phase 
of  the  battle,  testified  alike  to  the  splendid 
handling  of  the  ships  and  the  excellence  of  the 
material  and  workmanship  put  into  their 
construction. 

The  third  stage  of  the  engagement  was  intro- 
duced by  the  arrival  of  the  British  battle  fleet. 
Its  j^roximity  had  already  been  notified  to  Sir 
David  Beatty,  the  speed  of  whose  ships  had 
enabled  him  to  draw  considerably  ahead  of  the 
German  line,  giving  him  the  advantage  of' 
position,  and  he  now  turned  to  the  north- 
eastward, crossing,  as  it  were,  ahead  of  them, 
and,  as  he  says,  crumpling  up  their  leading 
ships.    He  notes  that  only  three  of  their  battle- 


cruisers  were  at  this  time  in  sight,  closely 
followed  by  battleships  of  the  Konig  class. 
They  were  already  turning  to  the  eastward, 
partly  because  of  Beatty's  action,  but  possibly 
also  because  they  had  realized  what  they  were 
in  for.  It  has  been  suggested  that  it  was  now 
that  von  Scheer  ordered  tho  pre-Dreadnought 
ships  to  make  the  best  of  their  way  home. 
Anyway,  none  of  them  appears  to  have  taken 
a  part  in  the  subsequent  daylight  fighting,  as 
should  otherwise  have  been  the  case  had  they 
retained  their  position  as  the  rear  division  of 
the  German  line. 

When,  at  5.56,  the  flagsliips  of  the  British 
battle  squadrons  were  seen  bearing  north, 
distant  five  miles,  Beatty  altered  course  to  the 
east,  bringing  the  range  down  to  12,000  yards, 
and  proceeded  at  his  utmost  speed.  The  object 
of  this  movement  was  to  give  room  for  Sir  John 
Jellicoe's  force  to  deploy — that  is,  to  open  out 
and  extend  his  divisions  from  column  into  line 
so  as  to  come  into  action  astern  of  the  battle- 
cruisers.  The  second  purpose  of  Admiral 
3eatty  had  been  attained.  As  the  Commander- 
in-Chief,  in  a  deservedly  eulogistic  passage  in 
his  dispatch,  said  : 

The  junction  of  the  Battle  Fleet  with  the  scouting 
force  after  the  enemy  had  been  sighted  was  delayed 
owing  to  the  southerly  course  steered  by  our  advanced 
force  during  the  first  hour  after  commencing  their 
action  with  the  enemy  battle-cruisers.  This  was,  of 
course,  unavoidable,  as  had  our  battle-cruisers  not 
followed  the  enemy  to  the  southward  the  main  fleets 
would  never  have  been  in  contact.  The  Battle-Cruiser 
Fleet,  gallantly  led  by  Vice-Admiral  Sir  David  Beatty, 
and  admirably  supported  by  the  ships  of  the  Fifth 
Battle  Squadron  under  Rear-Admiral  Hugh  Evan- 
Thomas,  fought  an  action  under,  at  times,  disadvantageous 
conditions,    especially    in   regard    to   light,  in  a  manner 


GERMAN    WAR    VESSELS    OUTSIDE    KIEL    HARBOUR. 


THE    TIMES    HISTOBY    OF    THE    WAR. 


145 


AFTER    THE    BATTLE. 

Shell-holes  in   the  side  of  a   British  warship.      Th 
shell-hole  on   the  left  is  stopped    up  with    bedding 

that  was   in    keeping    with   the    beat   traditions    of   t! 
Service. 

Before    describing    the    way    in    which    the 

German  High  Sea  Fleet  was  brought  to  action 

by  the  British  battle  squadrons,  it  will  make  the 

narrative  more  clear  if  the  subsequent  mo  vet 

ments  of  the  force  under  Sir  David  Beatty  are 

first  dealt  with.     Continuing  his  course  to  the 

eastward,    at    0.20    tho    Third    Battle-Cruiser 

Squadron,   commanded   by   Rear-Admiral   the 

Hon.  H.  L.  A.  Hood,  which  had  been  ordered  to 

reinforce  him,  appeared  ahead,  steaming  south 

towards  the  enemy's  van.      Sir  David  reports  : 

I  ordered  them  to  take  station  ahead,  which  was 
carried  out  magnificently,  Rear-Adrairal  Hood  bringing 
his  squadron  into  action  in  a  most  inspiring  manner, 
worthy  of  his  great  naval  ancestors. 

It  was  at  this  stage  of  the  battle  that,  as  the 
Germans  themselves  admitted,  the  increasing 
mist,  particularly  in  the  north  and  north-east, 
made  itself  most  unpleasantly  felt.  Hood, 
advancing  at  great  speed,  to  carry  out  the 
operation  described  by  Sir  David  Beatty,  swung 
across  hi  front  of  the  battle-cruisers,  and  in  the 
mist  ran  on  to  within  8,000  yards  of  the  German 


line.      What  followed  is  thus  described   by  a 
spectator : 

The  Invincible,  which  had  sunk  a  German  light 
cruiser  at  5.45  p.m.,  after  an  action  lasting  five  minutes 
tackled  a  vessel  of  the  Derfflinger  class.  The  German 
ship  was  hit  by  the  first  salvo,  and  was  getting  several 
knocks  to  every  one  she  got  home  on  the  Invincible, 
when  the  shell  camo  that  sank  the  Invincible.  There 
were  only  six  survivors,  and  when  they  came  op  they 
witnessed  the  extraordinary  spectacle  of  both  the  bow 
and  stern  of  their  ship  standing  vertically  50  ft.  out  of 
the  water. 


146 


THE    TIMES    HISTORY    OF    THE    WAR. 


As  soon  as  Sir  David  Beatty  realized  what  was 
happening  he  altered  course  in  support  of  the 
Third  Battle-Cruiser  Squadron,  and  directed  its 
two  remaining  vessels  to  take  station  astern  of 
his  squadron  and  to  prolong  the  line.  This  was 
the  first  occasion  on  which  any  of  the  battle- 
cruisers  engaged  at  less  than  12,000  yards,  and 
Beatty  was  affording  succour  to  his  consorts  of 
Admiral  Hood's  division.  The  Invincible  was 
sunk,  as  the  Indefatigable  and  Queen  Mary  had 
been,  in  action  with  other  battle-cruisers,  and 
there  is  no  evidence  in  the  dispatches  that  up 
to  this  moment  our  battle-cruisers  had  been 
in  action  with  battleships.  Any  suggestions, 
therefore,  that  undue  risks  were  taken  in  regard 
to  range,  or  by  the  engagement  of  battleships 
by  battle-cruisers,  are  unsupported  by  the 
facts.  Nor  does  the  action  necessarily  show 
that  battle-cruisers  cannot  fight  battleships. 
Later  on,  when  the  German  battleships  were 
engaged  by  vessels  of  other  types,  they  were 
admittedly  showing  signs  of  demoraliza- 
tion, which  had  all  the  disturbing  effect  of 
defeat. 

The  visibility  at  6.50  was  not  more  than  four 
miles,  and  soon  after  the  enemy's  ships  were 
temporarily  lost  sight  of.  Sir  David  continued 
his  course  to  the  eastward  until  7  o'clock,  when 
he  gradually  altered  course  to  the  south  and 
west  in  order  to  regain  touch  with  the  enemy. 
Twice  more  he  was  in  action,  and  now  with 
battleships  as  well  as  battle-cruisers,  at  ranges 
of  15,000  and  10,000  yards  respectively.  Both 
times  his  gunners  got  home  on  these  retreating 
vessels.  On  the  last  occasion  the  leading  ship, 
after  being  repeatedly  hit  by  the  Lion,  turned 
away  eight  points,  emitting  high  flames,  and 
with  a  heavy  list  to  port.  The  Princess  Royal 
set  fire  to  a  three-funnelled  battleship,  and  the 
New  Zealand  and  Indomitable  reported  that 
the  third  ship  hauled  out  of  the  line,  heeling 
over  and  on  fire.  Then  the  mist  came  down 
again  and  enveloped  them,  and  the  battle- 
cruisers'  part  in  the  engagement  ceased.  If  any 
vindication  of  the  tactical  ability  of  the  Vice- 
Admiral  Commanding  the  Battle-Cruiser  Fleet, 
or  the  brilliant  manner  in  which  he  carried  out 
the  duties  entrusted  to  him,  was  required,  it 
may  surely  be  found  in  the  appreciation  and 
approval  of  his  work  and  talents  by  Admiral 
Sir  John  Jellicoe  : 

Sir  David  Beatty  once  again  showed  his  fine  qualities 
of  gallant  leadership,  firm  determination,  and  correct 
strategic  insight.  He  appreciated  the  situations  at 
once  on  sighting  first  the  enemy's  lighter  forces,  then 
his   battle-cruisers,  and  finally  his  battle  fleet.     I  can 


fully  sympathize  with  his  feelings  when  the  evening 
mist  and  fading  light  robbed  the  Fleet  of  that  complete 
victory  for  which  he  had  manoeuvred,  and  for  which 
the  vessels  in  company  with  him  had  striven  so  hard. 
The  services  rendered  by  him,  not  only  on  this,  but  on 
two  previous  occasions,  have  been  of  the  very  greatest 
value. 

There  remains  to  describe  the  concluding 
phase  of  the  daylight  engagement — that  between 
the  battle  squadrons.  It  was,  however,  a 
very  one-sided  affair,  because  as  soon  as  von 
Scheer  recognized  what  he  was  up  against  he 
turned  to  the  southward,  and,  under  cover  of 
the  declining  daylight,  the  thickening  mist, 
and  smoke-clouds  from  his  small  craft,  with- 
drew from  the  fight.  Before  he  could  get 
away,  however,  the  three  squadrons  of  the 
Battle  Fleet  formed  in  a  single  line  were  hurled 
across  his  van,  and  under  a  paralysing  fire 
from  the  British  13"5-in.  guns  the  German 
formation  was  shattered  and  the  ships  them- 
selves very  severely  mauled.  It  was  the 
supreme  moment,  leading  to  the  climax  of  the 
whole  battle,  when  Sir  John  Jellicoe  brought 
his  magnificent  Dreadnoughts  at  their  top 
speed  into  the  melee.  The  situation  called 
for  the  highest  tactical  skill,  calm  judgment, 
aid  instant  and  unerring  decision  on  the  part 
of  the  Commander-in-Chief.  His  own  account 
of  this  important  phase  is  singularly  brief  and 
modest.  "  I  formed  the  Battle  Fleet  in  line 
of  battle  on  receipt  of  Sir  David  Beatty's 
report,  and  during  deployment  the  fleets 
became  engaged."  Picture  the  circumstances. 
Flashes  of  guns  were  visible  through  the  haze, 
but  no  ship  could  be  clearly  distinguished. 
Even  the  position  of  the  enemy's  battleships 
could  not  always  be  determined.  So  thick 
was  it,  in  fact,  that  great  care  was  essential 
to  prevent  the  British  ships  being  mistaken 
for  enemy  vessels.  The  conditions  were  cer- 
tainly unparalleled.  Yet,  without  a  moment's 
hesitation,  Sir  John  Jellicoe,  with  cool  courage, 
delivered  a  vigorous  and  decisive  thrust  which 
threw  the  enemy  into  confusion  and  completed 
their  discomfiture.  After  this,  all  their  tactics 
were  of  a  nature  to  avoid  further  action.  How 
they  extricated  themselves  was  not  made  clear. 
The  fighting  between  the  big  ships  lasted  inter- 
mittently for  two  hours  more.  It  developed 
into  a  chase.  "  During  the  somewhat  brii  f 
periods,"  says  Sir  John,  "  in  which  the  ships 
of  the  High  Sea  Fleet  were  visible  through  the 
mist,  the  heavy  and  effective  fire  kept  up  by 
the  battleships  and  battle -cruisers  of  the  Grand 
Fleet  caused  me  much  satisfaction,  and  the 
enemy's  vessels  were  seen  to  be  constantly  hit, 


REAR-ADMIR\L   ARTHUR   C.  REAR-ADMIRAL  ERNEST  F.  A. 

LEVESON.  C.B..  GAUNT.  C.M.G., 

Second  in-Comman  J,  Second  Battle  Squadron.      gecond-in-Command.  Fourth  Battle 

Squadron. 


VICE-ADMIRAL    SIR    THOMAS 

JERRAM.  K.C.B.. 

Commanded  the  Second  nettle  Squadron. 


REAR-ADMIRAL    ALEXANDER    L.    DUFF.    C.B., 
Second-in-Command.  First  Battle  Squadron. 

Photos  by  Russell,  Elliott  &  Fry,  Lafayette,  VBstrange 
147 


REAR-ADMIRAL   HUGH    EVAN-THOMAS.  M.V.O., 
Commanded  the  Fifth  Battle-Squadron. 


Ms 


THE    TIMES    HISTORY    OF    THE    WAR. 


some  being  obliged  to  haul  out  of  the  line,  and 
at  least  one  to  sink.  The  enemy's  return  fire 
at  this  period  was  not  effective,  and  the  damage 
caused  to  our  ships  was  insignificant." 

The  story  would  not  be  complete  without 
some  account  of  the  operations  of  the  light- 
cruiser  squadrons  and  destroyer  flotillas.  It 
was  here  that  the  changes  in  the  conduct  of 
sea  fighting  since  the  last  time  the  British 
Navy  was  engaged  in  a  fleet  action  were  most 
clearly  marked.  In  the  old  wars,  over  a 
hundred  years  ago,  ships  of  the  line  of  battle, 
unless  incensed  by  some  openly  offensive  act, 
scorned  to  throw  away  ammunition  on  a  frigate 
or  a  sloop,  and  these  vessels  were  left  to  fight 
duels  with  others  of  their  own  class.  This  has 
been  entirely  altered  by  the  introduction  of 
the  torpedo,  and  now  the  smallest  boat  thus 
armed  may  become  a  formidable  antagonist 
to  the  biggest  Dreadnought.  The  light  craft, 
therefore,  which  enter  the  field  of  a  fleet  action 
must  expect  a  hostile  reception  if  they  come 
within  range  of  any  enemy  ship.  The  lighter 
craft,  however,  whether  cruisers  or  destroyers, 
cooperated  with  their  heavier  comrades  of  the 
line,  and  engaged  with  intrepidity  and  daring. 
The  skilful  way  in  which  every  type  of  vessel 
was  used  to  assist  the  others  bears  witness  to 
the  development  of  fleet  organization  in 
accordance  with  modern  demands.  Sir  David 
Beatty  testified  to  the  value  of  the  light 
cruisers.  "  They  very  effectively  protected 
the  head  of  our  line  from  torpedo  attack  by 
light  cruisers  or  destroyers,  and  were  prompt 
in  helping  to  regain  touch  when  the  enemy's 
line  was  temporarily  lost  sight  of."  No  higher 
praise  could  be  given  to  the  destroyer  flotillas 
than  that  of  Sir  John  Jellicoe.  "  They  sur- 
passed the  very  highest  expectations  that  I 
had  formed  of  them." 

Although  with  grim  determination  and 
resolute  bravery  the  small  craft  threw  them- 
selves into  the  fight,  no  light  cruiser  was  lost, 
and  only  eight  destroyers  were  sunk.  It  may 
be  described  as  a  conflict  between  egg-shells 
and  sledge-hammers,  but  the  egg-shells  did  not 
often  get  the  worst  of  it.  Very  many  ships 
were  reported  to  have  been  seriously  damaged 
by  our  torpedo  attacks.  Three  times  the  light 
cruiser  squadrons,  carrying  no  heavier  gun  than 
a  6-in.,  and  relying  for  protection  on  their 
own  rapidity  of  fire  and  movement,  attacked 
armoured  ships.  The  dispatches  contain  many 
instances  of  individual  heroism  and  devotion 
to  duty  on  the  part  of  those  in  the  destroyers, 


and  these  are  only  typical  of  many  brilliant' 
feats  which,  under  the  conditions  of  the  battle, 
were  unseen  and  unrecorded  officially.  Then 
there  is  the  tragic  episode  of  the  destruction 
of  Sir  Robert  Arbuthnot's  squadron.  At  6.1G 
the  Defence  and  Warrior  of  this  squadron, 
which  had  gone  into  action  ahead  of  the  British 
Battle  Fleet,  were  observed  passing  down 
between  the  engaged  lines  under  a  very  heavy 
fire.  The  Defence,  flying  Rear-Admiral 
Arbuthnot's  flag,  disappeared,  and  the  Warrior 
passed  to  the  rear  disabled.  They  had  only 
a  short  time  before  been  observed  in  action 
with  an  enemy  light  cruiser,  which  was  sub- 
sequently seen  to  sink. 
Says  Sir  John  Jellicoe  : 

It  is  probable  that  Sir  Robert  Arbuthnot,  during  his 
engagement  with  the  enemy's  light  cruisers  and  in  his 
desire  to  complete  their  destruction,  was  not  aware  of 
the  approach  of  the  enemy's  heavy  ships,  owing  to  the 
mist,  nntil  he  found  himself  in  close  proximity  to  the 
main  fleet,  and  before  ho  could  withdraw  his  ships 
they  were  caught  under  a  heavy  fire  and  disabled. 

It  is  not  known  when  the  Black  Prince,  of 
the  same  squadron,  was  sunk,  but  a  wireless 
signal  was  received  from  her  between  eight  and 
nine  p.m.  The  ships'  companies  of  both  the 
Defence  and  Black  Prince  were  lost,  but  that 
of  the  Warrior,  as  mentioned  elsewhere,  was. 
saved  by  the  Engadine. 

The  dispositions  of  the  Commander-in-Chief 
after  nightfall  recalled  the  methods  of  Togo 
when  he  lost  sight  of  the  remnants  of  Rozh- 
destvensky's  fleet  after  Tsushima.  Realizing 
that  Admiral  Niebogatoff  would  make  for 
Vladivostok,  Togo  headed  in  the  same  direction, 
and,  as  is  known,  found  him  the  next  morning 
and  accepted  his  surrender.  Sir  John  Jellicoe- 
manoeuvred  to  remain  between  the  enemy  and 
his  bases,  placing  his  destroyers  in  a  position 
where  they  would  afford  protection  to  the 
larger  ships  and  also  be  favourably  situated 
for  attacking  those  of  the  enemy.  As  it  turned 
out,  while  a  heavy  toll  of  the  German  vessels 
was  taken,  not  a  single  ship  was  touched  in 
the  British  line.  The  Fourth,  Eleventh  and 
Twelfth  Flotillas,  under  Commodore  J.  R.  P.. 
Hawksley  and  Captains  C.  J.  Wintour  and 
A.  J.  B.  Stirling,  are  mentioned  by  Sir  John 
Jellicoe  as  having  "  delivered  a  series  of  very 
gallant  and  successful  attacks  on  the  enemy,, 
causing  him  heavy  losses."  The  Twelfth 
Flotilla  attacked  a  squadron  consisting  of  six 
large  vessels,  including  some  of  the  Kaiser  class, 
which  was  entirely  taken  by  surprise.  "  A 
large  number  of  torpedoes  was  fired,  including. 


THE    TIMES    HISTORY    OF    THE    WAR. 


149 


some  at  the  second  and  third  ships  in  the  line  ; 
those  fired  at  the  third  ship  took  effect,  and  she 
was  observed  to  blow  up." 

Jellicoe,  however,  was  not  to  experience  the 
good  fortune  of  Togo,  for  under  cover  of  the 
darkness  of  the  night,  and  the  thickness  of 
the  weather,  Vice-Admiral  Scheer,  with  his 
battered  ships,  was  able  to  escape.  It  was  not 
until  the  following  day,  after  the  whole  of  the 
large  area  covered  by  the  fight  had  been 
thoroughly  searched,  without  a  trace  of  the 
enemy  being  seen,  that  the  British  Commander- 
in-Chief  returned  to  his'bases  to  refuel  and  refill 
his  magazines.  As  was  officially  stated,  he 
was  ready  again  within  a  very  few  hours  to 
put  to  sea. 


interviews  with  a  large  number  of  these  officers. 
Sir  John  Jellicoe  compiled  a  list  of  the  German 
losses,  to  which  reference  will  be  made  later. 
With  the  British  losses,  of  course,  there  was  no 
uncertainty  whatever,  for  at  the  earliest 
opportunity  the  Admiralty  published  them  in 
full,  in  contrast  to  the  policy  of  the  German 
Navy  Office,  which  aimed  at  concealment  as 
far  as  possible,  only  revealing  the  destruction 
of  those  ships  whose  loss  for  various  reasons 
had  already  become  known  to  a  number  of 
people. 

Of  the  three  battle-cruisers  and  three  ar- 
moured cruisers  sunk  on  the  British  side,  the 
Indefatigable,  Captain  C.  F.  Sowerby,  was  the 
first  to  be  destroyed,  followed  about  twenty 


REAR-ADMIRAL    T.    D.    W.    NAPIER, 
M.V.O., 

Commanded  the  Third  Light-Cruiser  Squadron. 

The  circumstances  of  the  weather  which 
obtained  on  the  afternoon  of  May  31,  and  the 
approach  of  night  soon  after  the  main  battle 
was  joined,  made  it  difficult  to  obtain  exact 
information  as  to  the  losses  inflicted  on  the 
enemy.  As  Sir  John  Jellicoe  says,  owing  prin- 
cipally to  the  mist,  but  partly  to  the  smoke,  it 
was  possible  to  see  only  a  few  ships  at  a  time 
in  the  enemy's  battle  line. 

"  The  conditions  of  low  visibility,"  he  wrote  in  his 
dispatch,  "  under  which  the  day  action  took  place  and 
the  approach  of  darkness  enhance  the  difficulty. of  giving 
»n  accurate  report  of  the  damage  inflicted  or  the  names 
»f  the  ships  sunk  by  our  forces." 

After    a   most   careful    examination    of    the 

evidence  of  all  officers  who  testified  to  seeing 

enemy    vessels    actually    sink,    and    personal 


[RusseLl. 


REAR-ADMIRAL    HERBERT    L.    HEATH, 
M.V.O., 

Commanded  the  Second  Cruiser  Squadron. 

minutes  later  by  the  Queen  Mary,  Captain 
C.  I.  Prowse.  It  was  s*t  a  later  stage  that  the 
third  battle-cruiser,  the  Invincible,  Captain 
A.  L.  Cay,  flying  the  flag  of  Rear-Admiral  the 
Hon.  H.  L.  A.  Hood,  and  the  armoured  cruisers 
Defence,  Captain  S.  V.  Ellis,  flying  the  flag  ol 
Rear-Admiral  Sir  Robert  Arbuthnot,  Black 
Prince,  Captain  T.  P.  Bonham,  and  Warrior, 
Captain  V.  B.  Molteno,  were  sunk  or  disabled. 
Sir  John  Jellicoe  records  at  the  end  of  his 
dispatch  how  "  the  hardest  fighting  fell  to  the 
lot  of  the  Battle-Cruiser  Fleet  (the  units  of 
which  were  less  heavily  armoured  than  their 
opponents),  the  Fifth  Battle  Squadron,  the 
First  Cruiser  Squadron,  Fourth  Light  Cruiser 
Squadron,  and  the  Flotillas."     Of  these  forces 


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THE    TIMES    HISTORY    OF    THE    WAR. 


151 


the  Battle-Cruiser  Fleet  under  Sir  David  Beatty, 
and  First  Cruiser  Squadron  under  Rear-Admiral 
Arbuthnot,  each  lost  three  units,  as  has  been 
shown,  but  the  Fifth  Battle  Squadron,  com- 
manded by  Rear-Admiral  Hugh  Evan-Thomas, 
and  Fourth  Light  Cruiser  Squadron  (Commo- 
dore C.  E.  Le  Mesurier),  escaped  without  loss, 
no  battleships  or  light  cruisers  being  sunk  at  all 
on  the  British  side.  The  destroyers  sunk  were 
eight  in  number — the  Tipperary,  Ardent, 
Fortune,  Shark,  Sparrowhawk,  Nestor,  Nomad, 
and  Turbulent.  In  the  first-named  vessel, 
Captain  C.  J.  Wintour,  commanding  the  Fourth 
Flotilla,  which,  said  Sir  John  Jellicoe,  he  had 
brought  to  a  high  pitch  of  perfection,  lost  his 
life. 

The  foregoing  was  the  complete  toll  paid  by 
the  British  Fleet  in  driving  back  the  Germans 
into  their  ports.  It  was  added  to  by  the 
enemy,  sometimes  liberally,  with  the  intention 
of  supporting  their  claim  to  a  "  victory,"  but 
the  Admiralty  on  more  than  one  occasion 
definitely  denied  these  new  claims  from  Berlin. 
One  of  the  most  persistent  of  the  latter  related 
to  the  battleship  Warspite,  Captain  E.  M.  Phill- 
potts,  which  was  declared  to  have  been  sunk. 
In  spite  of  the  fact  that  the  Admiralty  issued  a 
notice  on  June  4  saying  :  "  This  is  untrue,  that 
ship  having  returned  to  harbour,"  the  allega- 
tion was  repeated  in  an  official  communique  from 
the  German  Fleet  Command  on  the  6th,  and 
again  in  the  long  official  account  published  on 
June  8.  On  June  10,  however,  the  Admiralty 
granted  permission  to  a  representative  of  the 
Associated  Press  of  America  to  see  Captain 
Phillpotts,  who  was  full  of  praise  for  the 
conduct  of  his  men  in  the  battle  and  what  he 
termed  the  amazing  powers  of  resistance  of 
his  ship.     He  said  : 

1  am  not  surprised  that  there  have  been  reports  that 
the  Warspite  was  sunk,  as  from  our  position,  between 
our  Fleet  and  the  German  battleships,  our  escape  from 
such  a  fate  was  simply  miraculous.  Several  times 
we  disappeared  from  sight  in  the  smoke  and  spray. 

The  Captain  went  on  to  explain  that  after 
two  hours  of  action,  in  much  of  which  the  Fifth 
Battle  Squadron,  to  which  the  Warspite 
belonged,  engaged  the  whole  German  Battle 
Fleet  in  an  effort  to  protect  the  British  battle- 
cruisers  until  Admiral  Jellicoe  came  up,  the 
steering  gear  of  the  Warspite  went  wrong,  and 
she  ran  amuck  among  the  enemy.  Some  six 
German  battleships  concentrated  their  fire  on 
her,  but  under  a  worse  pounding  than  the  Lion 
received  in  the  Dogger  Bank  fight  she  remained 
in   action   without   a  single  vital   injury.     An 


officer  in  another  ship,  describing  the  incident 
in  a  letter  published  in  the  newspapers,  said  : 

It  was  at  this  stage  that,  owing  to  some  temporary 
defect,  the  Warspite's  helm  jammed,  and  she  went 
straight  at  the  enemy  into  a  hell  of  fire.  She  looked  a 
most  wonderful  sight,  every  gun  firing  for  all  it  was 
worth  in  reply.  Luckily,  she  got  under  control  quickly, 
and  returned  to  the  line,  and  it  was  this  incident  which 
gave  rise  to  the  German  legend  that  sho  had  been  sunk, 

Sir  John  Jellicoe  commended  the  Warspite's 
captain  for  his  conduct  at  this  trying  moment. 
"  Clever  handling,"  said  the  Commander-in- 
Chief,  "  enabled  Captain  Edward  M.  Phillpotts 
to  extricate  his  ship  from  a  somewhat  awkward 
situation."  There  was  a  rather  amusing  touch 
at  the  conclusion  of  the  incident,  for  the  captain 
told  his  interviewer  that  when  the  defect  had 
been  quickly  repaired  the  Warspite  wanted  to 
return.  But  her  previous  movements  had  been 
so  erratic  that  Captain  Phillpotts  and  his  crew 
found  that  they  were  not  popular  !  Sufficient 
battleships  were  present  by  this  time  to  fill  the 
line,  and  the  possibility  of  the  vessel's  running 
amuck  among  her  own  friends  was  not  wel- 
comed.    So  she  steamed  home. 

Other  ships  in  the  British  Fleet  suffered  the 
same  fate  as  the  Warspite  of  being  sunk  on 
paper.  In  the  official  German  accounts  the 
battle-cruiser  Princess  P^oyal,  the  battleship 
Marlborough,  the  light  cruiser  Birmingham, 
and  the  destroyer  Acasta  were  all  consigned  to 
their  destruction  in  this  manner,  obliging  the 
issue  and  repetition  of  a  denial  by  the  Admiralty. 
The  cruiser  Euryalus  was  also  said  to  have  been 
set  on  fire  and  completely  burnt  out,  but,  as 
the  Admiralty  stated,  she  was  not  even  present 
in  the  battle.  In  the  case  of  the  Marlborough, 
Captain  G.  P.  Ross,  which  flew  the  flag  of  Vice- 
Admiral  Sir  Cecil  Burney,  Commanding  the 
First  Battle  Squadron  (Second-in-Command  of 
the  Grand  Fleet),  there  was  some  justification. 
At  6.54  p.m.,  after  having  been  engaged  with  a 
battleship  of  the  Kaiser  class,  and  with  a  cruiser, 
and  later  still  another  battlesliip,  this  vessel 
was  hit  by  a  torpedo,  and  took  up  a  considerable 
list  to  starboard.  In  spite  of  this  misfortune, 
as  the  official  dispatch  states  : 

She  reopened  at  7.3  p.m.  at  a  cruiser,  and  at  7.12  p.m. 
fired  fourteen  rapid  salvoes  at  a  ship  of  the  Konig  class, 
hitting  her  frequently  until  she  turned  out  of  the  line. 
The  manner  in  which  this  effective  fire  was  kept  up  in 
spite  of  the  disadvantages  due  to  the  injury  caused  by 
the  torpedo  was  most  creditable  to  the  ship,  and  a  very 
fine  example  to  the  squadron. 

An  eye-witness  also  said  that  the  sight  of  the 
gunlayers  in  the  Marlborough  calmly  and  coolly 
serving   their   weapons   while   the    vessel  was 


15-2 


THE    TIMES    HISTORY    OF    THE    WAR. 


damaged  and  in  possible  danger  of  sinking 
was  a  most  inspiring  one.  It  is  significant  that 
the  Marlborough  continued  to  perform  her 
duties  as  flagship  of  the  squadron  until  2.30  a.m. 
next  morning.  Then,  as  she  had  some  diffi- 
culty in  keeping  up  the  speed  of  the  squadron, 
Sir  Cecil  Burney  transferred  his  flag  to  the 
Revenge,  and  the  Marlborough  was  detached 
by  the  direction  of  Admiral  Jellicoe  to  a  base, 
driving  off  a  submarine  en  route. 

Unlike  the  British  losses  in  the  battle,  which 
were  known  in  full  all  over  the  world  within 
a  few  hours  of  the  end  of  the  engagement, 
those  of  the  German  Fleet  were  only  revealed 
in  easy  stages.  In  the  first  German  report, 
circulated  by  wireless  on  June  1,  they  were 
alleged  to  include  onlv  three  shins  and  "  some 
torpedo  boats."     The  communique  said  : 

On  our  side  the  small  cruiser  Wiesbaden  was  sunk 
by  hostile  artillery  fire  during  the  day  engagements, 
and  the  Pommern  during  the  night  by  a  torpedo.  The 
fate  of  the  Frauenlob,  which  is  missing,  and  of  some 
torpedo  boats  which  have  not  }Tet  returned,  is  unknown. 

In  the  second  German  official  message,  issued 
on  June  3,  the  loss  of  the  small  cruiser  Elbing 
(Captain  Madlung)  was  added  to  the  list. 
She  was  said  to  have  been  blown  up  by  her  own 
crew  after  being  heavily  damaged  by  collision 
with  another  German  war  vessel,  which  made 
it  impossible  to  take  her  back  to  port.  The 
crew  were  rescued  by  torpedo  boats,  with  the 
exception  of  the  commander,  two  officers  and 
18  men,  who  remained  on  board  in  order  to 
blow  up  the  vessel,  and  who  were  brought  to 
Ymuiden  in  a  tug  and  landed  there.  Without 
a  doubt,  it  was  the  presence  of  these  survivors 
in  Holland,  reported  in  the  Press,  which  induced 
the  German  Admiralty  Staff  to  admit  the 
destruction  of  the  Elbing.  According  to  some 
accounts,  it  was  the  Warrior  which  put  the 
Elbing  out  of  action. 

In  a  semi-official  statement  issued  on  the 
same  day,  the  loss  of  the  Frauenlob  was 
accepted  as  a  certainty,  and  the  ship  was  said 
to  have  been  sunk  apparently  during  the 
night  of  May  31  in  an  individual  action.  The 
loss  of  five  "  large  torpedo  boats  "  was  also 
admitted.  On  Sunday,  June  4,  a  Berlin 
telegram,  which  attained  added  significance 
in  the  light  of  later  events,  was  dispatched. 
"  Contrary  to  the  British  Admiralty  report," 
it  said,  "it  is  stated  that  no  Gorman  naval 
units  were  lost  other  than  those  mentioned  in 
the  official  German  communiqui."  During 
the  next  week,  however,  on  Wednesday, 
June  7,  there  was  issued  from  the  Marine-Amt 


a  long  account  of  the  battle,  and  in  it  occurred 
the  following  passage  : 

The  total  losses  of  the  German  High  Sea  forces  during 
the  battle  of  May  31  and  Juno  1,  and  subsequently,  are  : 

One  battle-cruiser. 

One  ship  of  the  line  of  older  construction. 

Four  small  cruisers. 

Five  torpedo  boats. 

Of  these  losses,  the  Pommern,  launched  in  1905,  the 
Wiesbaden,  the  Elbing,  the  Frauenlob,  and  five  torpedo 
boats  have  already  been  reported  sunk  in  official  state- 
ments. For  militarv  reasons  we  refrained  till  now 
from  making  public  the  loss  of  the  vessels  Liltzow  and 
Rostock.  In  view  of  the  wrong  interpretation  of  thia 
measure,  and  moreover  in  order  to  frustrate  English 
legends  about  gigantio  losses  on  our  side,  these  reasons 
must  now  be  dropped.  Both  vessels  were  lost  on  their 
way  to  harbour  after  attempts  had  failed  to  keep  the 
heavily-damaged  vessels  afloat.  The  crews  of  both 
ships,  including  all  severely  wounded,  are  in  safety. 

This  was  as  far  as  the  Germans  went  in 
regard  to  the  admission  of  losses.  In  an 
enclosure  to  his  dispatch,  Sir  John  Jellicoe 
compiled  a  "  list  of  enemy  vessels  put  out  of 
action,"  in  regard  to  which  he  expressed  the 
opinion  that  it  gave  the  minimum  in  regard  to 
numbers,  although  it  was  possibly  not  entirely 
accurate  as  regards  the  particular  class  of 
vessel,  especially  those  which  were  sunk  during 
the  night  attacks.  In  addition  to  the  vessels 
sunk,  added  Sir  John,  it  was  unquestionable 
that  many  other  ships  were  very  seriously 
damaged  by  gunfire  and  by  torpedo  attack. 
In  this  connexion  it  has  to  be  remembered 
that  as  the  Germans  fought  nearer  home  than 
the  British  they  had  by  far  the  greater  chance 
of  getting  their  damaged  ships  safe  into  port. 
They  were  only  about  100  miles  from  the 
shelter  of  the  Heligoland  forts,  and  probably 
less  from  the  minefields  in  the  neighbourhood 
of  the  Bight,  when  the  battle  finished,  whereas 
Sir  John  Jellicoe's  bases  were  400  miles  away. 
The  Warrior,  after  being  disabled  during  the 
action,  was  towed  by  the  Engadine  for  75 
miles  from  8.40  p.m.  on  May  31,  all  through  the 
night,  until  7.15  a.m.  next  morning,  when  she 
foundered.  Had  the  conditions  in  this  respect 
been  equal,  the  British  losses  might  have  been 
less,  or  the  Germans  much  higher,  according 
to  the  position  in  which  the  battle  was  fought. 
It  is  fitting  to  note  here,  in  passing,  the  tribute 
paid  by  Admiral  Jellicoe  to  the  artisan  ratings 
in  his  Fleet.  They  "  carried  out  much  valuable 
work  during  and  after  the  action,"  he  said ; 
"  they  could  not  have  done  better."  Doubt- 
less the  hard  and  conscientious  work  of  these 
men  contributed  largely  to  the  speed  with 
which  the  Fleet  was  made  ready  for  sea  again 
within  a  few  hours. 


THE    TIMES    HISTORY    OF    THE    WAR. 


153 


Heath. 

COMMODORE  CHARLES  E.  LE  MESURIER, 
Commanded  the  Fourth  Light-Cruiser  Squadron. 

There  were  several  ships  in  the  German 
Fleet  which  were  seen  to  have  received  severe 
punishment,  making  the  chance  of  their 
getting  back  home  a  small  one.  As  regards 
the  battle-cruiser  squadron  a  Dutch  report 
stated  that  the  Derfninger  sank  whilst  being 
towed  to  Wilhelmshaven,  and  there  was  like- 
wise a  doubt  as  to  whether  the  Seydlitz,  the 
stern  of  which  vessel  was  stated  to  have  been 
blown  off,  got  into  port.  A  large  number 
of  relatives  of  her  crew,  residing  in  Schleswig, 
were  notified  of  casualties,  although  this  was 
not  in  itself  conclusive  evidence  that  she  had 
been  destroyed.  When  the  Liitzow  was  put 
out  of  action  Admiral    Hipper  transferred  his 


[Bacon 


SIR    ROBERT    ARBUTHNOT,    BT.,   M.V.O., 
Commanded  the  First  Cruiser  Squadron. 

flag  to  the  Moltke,  which  seems  to  have  suffered 

the    least    of    the    battle-cruisers.     Of    other 

cruisers  present  on  the  German  side,  the  Roon, 

an  armoured  vessel  of  an  earlier  class  than  the 

two  sunk  off  the  Falklands,  was  believed  to 

have     been     sunk.     A     midshipman     in     the 

Marlborough  wrote  to  his  parents  : 

I  believe  we  torpedoed  a  cruiser  which  has  not  yet 
been  claimed.  We  think  it  was  the  Roon,  sister-ship 
to  the  Yorck.  We  absolutely  did  for  her  with  gun-fire 
before  we  fired  the  torpedo.  We  could  see  right  into 
her  hull.  She  was  a  mass  of  flames  inside  and  had 
lost  a  funnel. 

In  the  same  way,  so  many  British  ships 
claimed  to  have  disposed  of  light  cruisers  that 
the  four  in  the  German  list  must  have  been 


[Russell. 

COMMODORE    E.    S.    ALEXANDER- 
SINCLAIR,  M.V.O.,  A.D.C., 
Commanded  the  First  Light-Cruiser  Squadron 


[Russell. 

COMMODORE  WILLIAM  E.  GOODENOUGH, 
Commanded  the  Second  Light-Cruiser  Squadron. 


154 


THE    TIMES    HISTORY    OF    THE    WAR. 


ytundl. 
COMMANDER    E.    B.    S.    BINGHAM. 

Commanded   the  destroyer   "  Nestor." 

an  under-statement  of  losses  in  this  class. 
The  municipality  of  Frankfort  opened  a  fund 
for  the  relief  of  relatives  of  the  crew  of  the 
light  cruiser  named  after  the  city. 

Then  as  regards  their  battle  fleet,  the  Ger- 
mans only  admitted  the  loss  of  one  unit,  the 
Pommern.  Captain  Btilcke,  commanding  this 
vessel,  was  among  those  who  went  down  in  her. 
The  British  official  estimate,  however,  claimed 
four  battleships,  three  of  which  were  seen  to 
sink.  One  of  these  may  have  been  the,  Ost- 
friesland,  which  Dutch  accounts  stated  had 
been  sunk.  Her  sister-ship,  the  Thiiringen, 
may  have  suffered  a  like  fate,  and  sailors'  caps 
bearing  the  name  of  tins  vessel  were  found  at 
sea  by  an  Ymuiden  trawler.  Byway,  doubtless, 
of  contradicting  the  report  of  the  loss  of  the 
Thiiringen,  an  article  appeared  in  the  Kreuz 
Zeilunrj  at  the  end  of  June,  purporting  to  be 
written  by  an  officer  of  the  ship,  in  which  it 
was  said  that  she  was  not  touched.  Tliree 
weeks  earlier,  on  June  10,  the  German  Admir- 
alty had  allowed  the  publication  of  an  account 
of  the  battle  alleged  to  have  come  from  a  mid- 
shipman of  the  Ostfriesland,  which  was  given  a 
rather  suspicious  prominence  in  the  German 
papers,  and  in  which  occurred  the  sentence  : 


"  The    Ostfriesland    did    not    receive    a   single 
hit." 

In  their  revelation  of  the  fine  spirit  shown  by 

the  officers  and  men  of  the  Royal  Navy,  the 

details  and  incidents  of  the  battle  were  most 

inspiring.     The    confidence    which    the    whole 

Fleet  had  in  its  commanders,  Sir  John  Jellicoe 

and  Sir  David  Beatty,  had  never  been  excelled 

at  any  period  in  our  naval   history.     Of  the 

Commander-in-Chief,  the  Archbishop  of  York 

had  written  : 

I  left  the  Grand  Fleet  sharing  to  the  full  the  admira- 
tion, affection,  and  confidence  which  every  officer 
and  man  within  it  feels  for  its  Commander-in-Chief, 
Sir  John  Jellicoe.  Here  assuredly  is  the  right  man  in 
the  right  place  at  the  right  time.  His  officers  givo  him 
the  most  absolute  trust  and  loyalty.  When  I  spoke  of 
him  to  his  men  I  always  felt  that  quick  response  which, 
to  a  speaker,  is  the  sure  sign  that  he  has  reached  and 
touched  the  hearts  of  his  hearers.  The  Commander-in- 
Chief — quiet,  modest,  courteous,  alert,  resolute>  holding 
in  firm  control  every  part  of  his  great  fighting  engine — 
has  under  his  command  not  only  the  ships,  but  the 
heart  of  his  Fleet. 

As  for  the  officers  and  their  relations  with 
one  another,  the  Archbishop  said  he  never 
heard  one  word  of  criticism,  never  felt  the 
slightest  breath  of  jealousy.  In  manner,  in 
word,  in  spirit  they  justified  the  boast  of  one 
of  the  Vice-Admirals  :  "  We  are  all  a  great 
band  of  brothers." 

As  for  Sir  David  Beatty,  every  incident  in 
his  career,  and  they  had  been  both  many  and 
glorious,  had  pointed  him  out  as  one  of  the  men 
to  command  the  fleets  of  England  if  ever  she 
was  engaged  in  a  great  naval  war.  The  affair 
in  the  Heligoland  Bight,  the  action  off  the 
Dogger  Bank,  and  other  episodes  had  inspired 
feelings  which  were  amply  confirmed  by  the 
great  action  off  the  Jutland  coast.  What  his 
men  thought  of  him  was  well  typified  in  the 
answer  of  a  sailor  who  was  asked,  just  after 
the  battle,  if  the  seamen  had  full  confidence 
in  their  leader.  "  Confidence  in  David  ?  "  he 
replied  ;  "  why,  we  would  all  go  to  Hell  for 
David." 

This  implicit  trust  in  the  officers  in  command 
was  reciprocated  to  the  full.  Sir  John  Jellicoe 
says  in  liis  dispatch  : 

The  conduct  of  officers  and  men  throughout  the  day 
and  night  actions  was  entirely  beyond  praise.  No 
words  of  mine  could  do  them  justice.  On  all  sides  it  is 
reported  to  me  that  the  glorious  traditions  of  the  past 
were  most  worthily  upheld — whether  in  heavy  ships, 
cruisers,  light  cruisers,  or  destroyers — the  same  admirable 
spirit  prevailed.  Officers  and  men  were  cool  and 
determined,  with  a  cheeriness  that  would  have  carried 
them  through  anything.  The  heroism  of  the  wounded 
was  the  admiration  of  all.  I  cannot  adequately  express 
the  pride  with  which  the  spirit  of  the  Fleet  filled  me. 


THE    TIMES    HISTORY    OF    THE    WAR. 


155 


THE    DESTROYER    "SPITFIRE" 
(Lieutenant-Commander  C.  W.   E.  Trelawny)  torpedoing  a  German  warship. 

Moreover   the  one  thought  in  all  ranks  alter  the  enemy  into  the  jaws  of  our  Fleet.     I  have 

the  contest  was  that  it  might  be  renewed  and  no  regrets,  excopt  for  the  gallant  comrades,  all 

completed    on  a  future    occasion.      Sir  David  pals,  that  have  gone,  who  died  gloriously.     It 

Beattv    in  a  message  to  Admiral  of  the  Fleot  would  have  warmed  your  heart  to  see  the  gallant 

the  Hon.  Sir  Heclworth  Meux,  said  :    "  We  drew  Hood  bring  his  squadron  into  action.     We  are 


156 


THE    TIMES    HISTORY    OF    THE    WAR. 


TYPES   OF   GERMAN   WARSHIPS 


rea:ly  for  the  next  time.  Please  God  it  will 
coma  soon."  The  officers'  tributes  to  the  con- 
duct of  the  men  vie  with  those  which  the 
seamen  paid  to  the  leading  and  example  of 
the  officers.  One  officer,  a  lieutenant-com- 
mander in  a  vessel  which  got  into  action  a 
little  after  5  p.m.  on  the  31st,  said  in  a  letter  : 
"  I  am  very  glad  the  men  have  had  their 
baptism  of  fire.  They  were  simply  splendid. 
Everything  went  just  as  if  we  had  been  at 
target  practice.  Two  young  boys  in  an  exposed 
position  were  extremely  good.  I  do  not  think 
either  of  them  is  seventeen  yet,  but  these  boys 
never  turned  a  hair."  Sub-Lieutenant  G.  A. 
Nunneley,  of  the  Warrior,  testified,  in  a  letter 
quoted  in  the  Yorkshire  Post,  to  the  coolness 
of  the  men  in  that  ship  when  she  had  been 
disabled.  They  did  not  see  how  they  could 
possibly  escape,  as  the  Warrior  was  on  fire 
amidships  and  aft,  but  "  the  spirit  of  the  men 
and  the  heroism  displayed  were  wonderful ; 
everybody  was  cheerful  and  nobody  lost  his 
head."  This  fine  display  of  true  discipline  had 
its  reward  when  the  whole  of  the  crew,  in  most 
difficult  circumstances,  were  taken  off  by  the 
seaplane  carrier  Engadine.  It  was  during  the 
transhipment,  on  the  morning  of  June  1,  that 
Lieutenant  F.  J.  Rutland  performed  the  gallant 
feat  for  which  he  received  the  Albert  Medal  of 
the  First  Class  from  the  King.  A  severely 
wounded  man  from  the  Warrior,  owing  to  the 


violent  motion  of  the  two  ships,  was  accidentally 
dropped  overboard  from  a  stretcher  and  fell 
between  the  vessels,  which  were  working  so 
dangerously  that  the  commanding  officer  of 
the  Warrior  had  to  forbid  two  of  his  officers 
from  jumping  overboard  to  the  rescue  of  the 
wounded  man,  as  it  was  considered  that  this 
would  mean  their  almost  certain  death.  Before 
he  could  be  observed,  however,  Lieutenant 
Rutland  went  overboard  from  the  forepart  of 
the  Engadine  with  a  bowline,  and  worked 
himself  aft.  He  succeeded  in  putting  the  bow- 
line around  the  wounded  man,  and  in  getting 
km  hauled  on  board,  but  it  was  then  found 
that  the  man  was  dead,  having  been  crushed 
between  the  two  ships.  Lieutenant  Rutland's 
escape  from  a  similar  fate  was  miraculous. 
"  His  bravery,"  as  the  official  account  of  his 
gallant  deed  stated,  "is  reported  to  have  been 
magnificent."  He  had  already  distinguished 
himself  at  the  beginning  of  the  battle  by  his 
work  as  pilot  of  the  seaplane  which,  as  indicated 
elsewhere,  was  sent  up  from  the  Engadine  for 
scouting  purposes.  Lieutenant  Rutland  was  one 
of  the  few  officers  in  the  battle  who  had  been 
promoted  from  the  lower  deck.  He  was  among 
the  first  group  of  candidates  selected  in  1912,  in 
accordance  with  the  new  Admiralty  scheme,  to 
qualify  for  commissions,  by  courses  of  training 
at  Greenwich  and  elsewhere,  and  by  a  period 
of  service  afloat  in  the  grade  of  "mate.'      Le 


THE    TIMES    HISTORY    OF    THE    WAR. 


157 


■  G    E     R    M    AN 


ATT.LE  FLEET 


DESTROYER 
SCREEN 


WHICH  TOOK   PART   IN   THE   BATTLE. 


eras  appointed  to  torpedo  boat  No.  35  when 
war  began,  but  in  December,  1914,  transferred 
to  the  Royal  Naval  Air  Service  as  an  acting 
flight  sub -lieutenant,  afterwards  being  promoted 
flight-lieutenant.  The  action  of  May  31  thus 
produced,  as  it  were,  the  first-fruits  of  the 
decision,  taken  when  Mr.  Churchill  was  First 
Lord,  to  open  the  commissioned  ranks  of  the 
Navy  more  widely  to  the  petty  officers  and 
seamsn. 

In  a  striking  speech  when  introducing  the 
Navy  Estimates  in  the  House  of  Commons  on 
February  15,  1915,  Mr.  Churchill,  after  review- 
ing the  salient  features  of  the  first  six  months 
of  naval  war,  and  the  lessons  of  the  victories 
off  the  Dogger  Bank  and  the  Falklands,  said  : 
"  It  is  my  duty  in  this  House  to  speak  for  the 
Navy,  and  the  truth  is  that  it  is  sound  as  a 
bell  all  through.  I  do  not  care  where  or  how 
it  may  be  tested  ;  it  will  be  found  good  and  fit 
and  keen  and  honest."  Demonstration  of  the 
correctness  of  this  estimate  is  to  be  found  in 
the  performances  of  all  ranks  and  ratings  in  the 
Jutland  Bank  action,  wherein  the  various 
branches  of  the  Service  vied  with  one  another 
in  efficiency.  If  two  may  specially  be  singled 
out  where  all  did  so  well,  it  is  the  engineering 
and  medical  branches.  The  prelude  to  action, 
said  Sir  John  Jellicoe,  is  the  work  of  the  engine- 
room  department,  and  "  during  action  the 
offioers  and  men  of  that  department  perform 


their  most  important  duties  without  the  in- 
centive which  a  knowledge  of  the  course  of  the 
actions  gives  to  those  on  deck.  The  qualities 
of  discipline  and  endurance  are  taxed  to  the 
utmost  under  these  conditions,  and  they  were, 
as  always,  most  fully  maintained  throughout 
the  operations  under  review.  Several  ships 
attained  speeds  that  had  never  before  been 
reached,  thus  showing  very  clearly  their  high 
state  of  steaming  efficiency.  Failures  in  material 
were  conspicuous  by  their  absence,  and  several 
instances  are  reported  of  magnificent  work  on 
the  part  of  the  engine-room  departments  of 
injured  ships."  Most  praiseworthy  also  was 
the  devotion  to  duty  of  the  surgeons.  "  The 
work  of  the  medical  officers  of  the  Fleet,"  Sir 
John  records,  "  carried  out  very  largely  under 
the  most  difficult  conditions,  was  entirely 
admirable  and  invaluable.  Lacking  in  many 
cases  all  the  essentials  for  performing  critical 
operations,  and  with  their  staff  seriously  de- 
pleted by  casualties,  they  worked  untiringly 
and  with  the  greatest  success.  To  them  we 
owe  a  deep  debt  of  gratitude." 

The  confidence  of  the  men  in  their  officers 
was  indicated  in  many  ways  ;  and  there  are 
numerous  letters  and  incidents  which  show  how 
real  and  deep  it  was.  Reference  is  made  by 
Sir  John  Jellicoe  to  the  fact  that  in  the  On- 
slaught, commanded  by  Lieutenant-Commander 
A.  G.  Onslow,  D.S.C.,  Sub -Lieutenant  H.  W.  A. 


158 


THE    TIMES    HISTORY    OF    THE    WAR. 


Keramis,  assisted  by  Midshipman  R.  G.  Arnot, 
R.N.R. ,  who  were  the  only  executive  officers 
not  disabled,  brought  the  ship  successfully  out 
of  action  and  back  to  her  home  port.  A  stoker 
petty  officer,  in  an  interview,  described  how  the 
Onslaught  was  swept  pretty  clean  of  everything, 
and  on  her  way  back  could  not  get  into  touch 
by  wireless,  because  both  the  operator  and 
signaller  had  been  killed.     The  bridge  had  been 


JOHN  TRAVEKS  GORNWELL, 
Of  the  "  Chester.''  The  boy,  who  was  under  16^ 
years  old,  although  mortally  wounded,  remained 
standing  alone  at  a  most  exposed  post,  quietly 
awaiting  orders  till  the  end  of  the  action,  with 
the  gun's  crew  dead  and  wounded  around  him. 
The  gallant  lad  died  from  his  wounds. 

carried  away  by  a  shell,  and  therefore  the  charts 
were  gone,  and  so  was  the  compass.  He  added  : 
I  would  like  to  say  something  of  Sub-Lieutenant 
Kemmis,  who  took  us  home.  We  had  a  rare  time  of  it, 
because  we  had  to  pick  our  way  as  best  we  could,  and 
there  was  the  sub-lieutenant  sticking  to  the  wheel  for 
over  forty  hours.  He  refused  to  be  relieved.  He  kept 
on  saying  that  the  men  had  quite  enough  to  do  to  look 
after  themselves,  and  nobody  was  to  bother  about  him. 
We  thought  a  lot  of  him,  I  can  tell  you. 

Naturally,  in  the  circumstances,  the  men  in 
the  destroyers  had,  if  anything,  an  extra  share 


of  thrilling  and  trying  experiences.  The 
stubborn  and  splendid  episode  of  the  Shark, 
which  went  down  righting  to  the  very  last,  may 
be  cited.  She  formed  one  of  a  small  division, 
led  by  the  Tipperary,  which  was  caught  and 
overwhelmed.  With  about  half  of  the  crew 
killed  or  disabled,  the  Shark  continued  to 
maintain  the  action  with  only  one  remaining 
gun.  The  captain,  Commander  L.  W.  Jones, 
is  said  to  have  had  one  of  his  legs  shot  away, 
but  he  continued  the  fight,  and  himself  helped 
to  serve  the  gun  to  the  last,  when  he  was  swept 
into  the  sea  as  the  vessel  foitndered.  Some 
survivors  from  the  Shark  sprang  on  to  a  raft, 
where  they  stayed  for  no  less  than  five  hours 
watching  the  battle.  They  kept  their  blood 
in  circulation  by  jumping  overboard  and 
swimming  round  the  raft,  all  doing  this  in  turn 
and  being  hauled  in  afterwards  by  those  on  the 
raft.  A  similar  experience  was  shared  by  the 
seamen  from  some  of  the  larger  ships.  Com- 
mander Dannreuther,  one  of  the  six  survivors  of 
the  Invincible,  was  shot  into  the  sea  when  the 
battle-cruiser  exploded,  and  went  down  20  feet 
or  30  feet.  Coming  up,  he  found  himself  near 
a  raft,  and  clambered  on  to  it.  In  a  few  minutes 
he  saw  a  broad,  black,  smiling  face,  covered 
with  grease  and  soot  and  oil,  appear  at  the  side 
of  the  raft.  "  I'll  bet  that's  Sandford,"  said 
Commander  Dannreuther  to  the  visitor. 
"  An  Irishman  would  be  sure  to  smile  after  an 
experience  like  this."  "  You're  right,"  replied 
Lieutenant  C.  S.  Sandford,  as  he  ,limbed  on 
to  the  raft.  Both  were  picked  up  half  an  hour 
later  by  a  torpedo  boat.  It  was  of  this  handful 
of  Invincible  survivors  that  a  midshipman 
related  an  incident  which  he  said  he  should  never 
forget,  as  it  was  the  pluckiest  thing  he  had  ever 
seen.  As  the  ship  he  was  in  steamed  ahead 
into  action,  he  saw  four  men  on  a  raft,  and  at 
first  thought  they  must  be  Germans.  But  as 
the  ship  passed  by,  "  the  four  got  up  on  their 
feet  and  cheered  us  like  blazes.  It  was  the 
finest  thing  I  had  ever  seen." 

Three  other  destroyers  of  the  same  division 
as  the  Shark  were  the  Ardent,  Fortune  and 
Sparrowhawk,  and  Sir  John  Jellicoe  records 
that  when  the  waters  from  the  latitude  of  the 
Horn  Reef  to  the  scene  of  the  action  were 
thoroughly  searched  next  morning,  some 
survivors  from  each  of  these  boats  were  picked 
up,  and  also  from  their  flotilla  leader,  the 
Tipperary.  The  Sparrowhawk  had  been  badly 
injured  in  collision,  and  was  no  longer  sea- 
worthy, so  she  was  sunk  after  her  crew  had  been 


THE    TIMES    HISTORY    OF    THE    WAR. 


159 


"FOR    YOUR    SPLENDID 
King  George  V.  inspecting  some  of  the  seamen  who 
during  his  visit  to  the  Battle  Cruiser   Fleet,  June 

taken  off.  A  petty  officer  of  Neath,  who  was 
in  the  Fortune,  related  how  23  men  of  that 
destroyer  got  on  to  a  raft  when  she  was  sunk, 
15  minutes  after  going  into  action,  but  only 
seven  of  this  number  survived  the  terrors  of 
the  night.  All  the  officers  were  lost.  One  of 
them  clung  to  the  rail  until  exhausted  ;  then 
his  hold  slipped,  and  he  went  down.  It  was  the 
saddest  sight  of  all,  related  this  petty  officer,  to 
see  comrades  slipping  off  when  those  who 
remained  alive  were  so  numbed  and  cramped 
that  they  could  give  them  no  help.  Yet,  in  spite 
of   their   sufferings,   the   men   were   amazingly 


WORK    I    THANK    YOU." 

fought  in  the  battle.     The    King    taking  the  salute 
,  1916.      On  the  King's  right  is  Admiral  Beatty. 

cheerful ;  and  it  was  related  by  another  petty 
officer  how  a  seaman,  who  was  the  possessor  of 
a  good  bass  voice,  helped  to  keep  up  the  spirits 
of  26  other  men  from  the  Tipperary  who  were 
stranded  on  a  raft  by  singing  to  them,  even 
though  he  himself  had  been  wounded  in  the  leg 
and  had  had  two  of  his  fingers  shot  away. 
These  men  were  afterwards  rescued  by  the 
disabled  Sparrowhawk,  and  had  not  been  long 
in  her  when — insult  added  to  injury  ! — a 
German  submarine  appeared  on  the  starboard 
quarter.  But  the  two  remaining  gvms  were 
quickly  brought  to  bear  on  her,  and  she  dived 


160 


THE    TIMES    HISTORY    OF    THE    WAR. 


at  once  and  made  off.  Besides  the  27  men  saved 
from  this  particular  raft,  there  was  a  sub- 
lieutenant who  was  swimming  alongside,  with 
one  hand  clutching  the  ropes  hanging  around. 
He  had  been  swimming  thus  for  some  hours, 
having  refused  to  board  the  raft,  as  it  might 
have  capsized  with  his  additional  weight.  In 
the  end,  he  was  in  better  condition  than  several 
of  the  men  who  were  on  board,  many  of  whom 
suffered  from  the  cold  and  exposure.  When  on 
board  the  Sparrowhawk,  much  amusement  was 
caused  by  one  survivor  who,  dressed  only  in  a 
piece  of  serge  round  his  loins,  was  anxiously 
drying  a  number  of  £1  Treasury  notes  which 
he  had  saved,  explaining  as  he  did  so  that  he 
was  to  be  married  on  his  next  leave.  To  his 
relief,  the  notes  dried  out  all  right,  and  then  he 
was  able  to  take  an  interest  in  his  own  miracu- 
lous escape. 

There  was  one  episode  which,  more  than 
any  other,  stirred  the  popular  imagination 
when  the  official  dispatches  were  published, 
and  that  was  the  deathless  story  of  Boy 
Corn  well,  who  remained  at  his  post  of  duty 
to  the  end  of  the  6ght,  faithful  to  the  last, 
and  then  died  of  his  wounds.  Sir  David 
Beatty  says  : 

A  report  from  the  Commanding  Officer  of  the  Chester 
gives  a  splendid  instance  of  devotion  to  duty.  Boy 
(1st  class)  John  Travers  Cornwell,  of  the  Chester,  was 
mortally  wounded  early  in  the  action.  He  nevertheless 
remained  standing  alone  at  a  most  exposed  post,  quietly 
awaiting  orders  till  the  end  of  the  action,  with  the 
guii's  crew  dead  and  wounded  all  round  him.  His  age 
was  under  161  years.  I  regret  that  he  has  since  died, 
but  I  recommend  his  case  for  special  recognition  in  justice 
to  his  memory,  and  as  an  acknowledgment  of  the  high 
example  set  by  him. 

The  body  of  the  brave  lad  was  at  first  buried 

in  a  common  grave,  but  on  July  29,  having 

been    exhumed,    it    was    reinterred    with    full 

naval   honours   in   a  private   grave   in   Manor 

Park  Cemetery,  when  the  Bishop  of  Barking 

and  Dr.  Macnamara,  the  latter  of  whom  was 

the  bearer  of  a  wreath  from  the  Royal  Navy, 

delivered     eloquent      tributes     to     CornweU's 

heroism.     A  movement  for  a  national  memorial 

was  set  on  foot,  in  which  the  Navy  League  and 

Sir   John   Bethell,   M.P.,    among   others,   were 

interested,    to    endow    a    ward     for    disabled 

sailors  in  the  Star  and  Garter  Home,  to  provide 

cottage  homes  for  disabled  and  invalided  sailors 


and  their  families,  to  institute  naval  scholar- 
ships for  deserving  boys,  and  to  erect  a  suitable 
monument  on  the  grave. 

It  is  unnecessary  to  emphasize  the  fact  that 
the  spirit  which  animated  little  Jack  Cornwell 
was  displayed  in  numerous  other  deeds  of 
courage  and  valour  on  May  31,  and  it  would  be 
true  to  say  that  what  he  did  so  splendidly 
many  others  were  ready  to  do  if  the  need  had 
arisen.  One  case  of  the  kind  was  that  of  a 
commander,  who,  despite  his  wounds,  con- 
tinued to  issue  orders,  and  remained  in  charge 
of  the  ship  till  she  had  finished  fighting.  When 
he  reached  port,  this  gallant  officer,  before 
allowing  himself  to  be  removed  to  hospital, 
insisted  on  bein,r  taken  round  his  ship  to 
inspect  the  damage  inflicted  by  the  enemy's 
fire.  Rather  a  touching  narrative  was  told 
of  the  chaplain  of  another  vessel,  who,  as  he 
lay  dying  from  a  shattered  spine  and  leg,  prayed 
for  victory  for  the  British  Fleet. 

Another  incident  among  the  many  glorious 
and  inspiring  deeds  on  this  memorable  day  is 
that  of  a  very  heroic  action  which  affords  an 
opportunity  for  giving  to  the  gallant  Corps  of 
Royal  Marines  the  praise  which  is  its  due. 
An  officer  of  the  corps  is  said,  in  his  last  moments 
when  mortally  wounded,  to  have  used  his 
remaining  breath  to  issue  instructions  which 
prevented  a  catastrophe  and  possibly  the  loss 
of  his  ship.  For  obvious  reasons,  neither  the 
name  of  the  officer  nor  of  the  vessel  were  publicly 
disclosed,  but  at  some  later  date  the  esteem  and 
honour  in  which  his  memory  is  now  held  by  his 
comrades  and  friends  within  the  Service  will 
also  be  accorded  him  by  all  his  fellow-country- 
men. 

On  this  note  the  relation  of  the  Battle  of 
Jutland  Bank  may  be  concluded.  The  loss  of 
life  was  indeed  serious,  both  to  the  Navy  and 
the  country.  Sir  John  Jellicoe,  in  his  dispatch, 
pays  a  tribute  to  the  officers  and  men  whose 
death  was  mourned  by  their  comrades  in  the 
Grand  Fleet.  "  They  fell,"  he  added,  "  doing 
their  duty  nobly,  a  death  which  they  would 
have  been  the  first  to  desire."  The  sorrow 
which  the  Navy  felt  at  the  loss  in  action  of  so 
many  gallant  seamen  was  fully  shared  by  the 
nation. 


CHAPTER    CXLI. 

THE   WESTERN    FRONT   IN  MAY 
AND  JUNE,    1 916. 

Desultory  Warfare  in  May — Poison  Gas  and  its  Uses — The  Anzacs  in  France — Analysis 
of  the  Fighting — A  Third  Battle  of  Yr-RES — The  German  Attack — The  Canadian  Counter- 
Attack  between  Hill  60  and  Hooge — The  Southern  End  of  the  British  Line — A  Series  of 
Raid.-' — Eve  of  the  Great  Franco-British  Offensive  on  the  Somme. 


FROM  the  end  of  April  until  the  begin- 
ning of  the  Franco -British  offensive 
on  July  1  the  warfare  on  the  Western 
front  partook  of  the  same  character 
is  that  described  in  Chapter  CXXXVI.  ;  that 
is  to  say,  the  fighting  was  continuous,  but 
yielded  no  important  results. 

On  May  2  the  Germans  delivered  one  of 
those  assaults  in  the  Verdun  region,  west  of 
the  Meuse,  which  had  now  become  routine, 
and,  as  usual,  without  any  practical  gain  : 
there  were  also  encounters  in  the  Argonne. 
Thus  affairs  went  on  from  day  to  day.  until 
the  8  th,  when  a  bombardment  of  great  violence 
was  directed  against  Avocourt  Wood  and  the 
region  round  about  it.  A  German  infantry 
attack,  which  followed  the  fire,  was  brought  to 
a  standstill  by  the  French  curtain  fire  and  that 
of  their  machine-guns. 

On  the  11th,  in  the  Champagne  region,  the 
French  demolished  a  Geiman  trench  for  a 
length  of  100  yards  near  Tahure,  otherwise 
there  was  comparative  calm  along  the  whole 
front  except  north-east  of  Vermelles,  where  the 
enemy  seized  about  500  yards  of  the  British 
front  trenches.  Part  of  the  lost  ground  was, 
however,  quickly  regained  by  a  counter-attack. 
It  was  the  first  endeavour  that  the  Germans 
had  made  on  this  part  of  the  British  line  since 
April  26-29. 

A  heavy  bombardment  during  the  night  of 
May  12-13,  between  the  river  Somme  and 
Vol.  IX.— Part  109. 


Maricourt,  was  followed  by  a  German  attack 
in  three  columns,  of  which  one  only  succeeded 
in  penetrating  our  line,  and  even  this  was  at 
once  driven  out  again.  In  the  neighbourhood 
of  Ploegsteert  Wood  the  enemy  attacked  our 
lines,  and  here  also  he  succeeded  in  penetrating 
at  one  point,  but  was  rapidly  expelled.  At 
another  his  troops  were  met  on  the  parapet 
by  some  of  the  Scots  and  forced  to  retire  in 
confusion. 

This,  from  the  German  point  of  view,  highly 
irregular  proceeding  on  the  part  of  our  men 
came  as  a  great  surprise  to  the  enemy,  who 
did  not  think  that  after  the  severe  artillery 
fire  they  would  be  equal  to  any  such  resistance. 
<  Jenerally  along  the  line  there  was  considerable 
artillery  activity,  but  very  little  else  to  note. 
Mining  operations  were  also  carried  on. 

An  ordinary  day  at  the  front  was  somewhat 
as  follows  :  What  our  men  called  the  "  morning 
strafe"  (one  side  might  commence  it  or  the 
other)  was  followed  by  the  ascent  of  observation 
balloons  and  aeroplanes  scouting  to  ascertain 
what  was  going  on  behind  the  enemy's  front 
line,  taking  photographs  of  his  works  or  disturb- 
ing his  movements.  When  the  enemy's  aero- 
planes were  noted  in  the  air  the  anti-aircraft 
guns  got  to  work  at  them.  In  the  middle  of 
the  day  there  was  sometimes  a  lull  for  dinners, 
and  later  on  the  fire  would  begin  again.  In 
the  course  of  the  night  the  enemy  sometimes 
attempted  to  raid   our  lines,  and  we  did  the 


Hi  I 


lli'2 


THE    TIMES    HISTORY    OE    THE    WAR. 


same  with  his.  These  incursions  were  made 
either  for  the  purpose  of  gaining  information 
or  in  order  to  keep  the  other  side  alarmed  and 
induee  the  belief  that  a  larger  attack  was  immi- 
nent. There  were  always  patrols  to  send  out  to 
reconnoitre  over  "  No-Man's  Land,"  and  some- 
times covering  parties  were  pushed  on  ahead  of 
our  trenches  to  cover  the  working  parties, 
both  dangerous  duties.*  Again,  when  it  was 
ascertained,  or  surmised,  that  there  was  a  con- 
siderable accumulation  of  German  troops 
opposite  a  British  trench,  a  heavy  artillery  fire 
would  be  brought  to  bear  to  make  them  keep 
close  under  cover.  Then  the  guns  would 
suddenly  lift  their  fire,  and  a  bombing  party, 
rushing  over  the  intervening  distance  of  "  No- 
Man's  Land,"  would  hurl  death  and  destruction 
among  them.  In  addition  to  all  this  there  was 
the  usual  repair  work  to  be  executed,  both  on 
the  trenches  and  on  the  wire  entanglements. 

When  a  raid  was  determined  on  from  either 
side  the  artillery  set  to  work  to  prepare  the 
way,  that  is  to  say,  it  smashed  as  much  as 
possible  the  enemy's  entanglements  which 
protected  the  part  selected  for  attack  When 
the  destruction  was  deemed  sufficient,  and  as 
the  points  where  raids  were  made  were  not  far 

'""No-Man's  Land"  was  the  name  given  to  the 
dividing  space  between  the  opposing  trenches. 


distant  from  the  assaulting  side's  trenches, 
the  attacking  infantry  advanced  to  the  assault. 
The  guns  then  turned  their  energies  to  making 
a  curtain  fire  behind  the  selected  part  to  prevent 
the  enemy  sending  up  supports  to  it.  The 
opponents  meanwhile  were  engaged  in  much 
the  same  manner,  endeavouring  to  stop  the 
assault,  or,  if  they  could  not  do  this,  in  throwing 
a  barrier  of  their  shell-fire  behind  the  attacking 
party  to  prevent  reinforcements  reacliing  it. 

This  procedure  caused  a  considerable  loss 
of  men  to  both  sides,  as  the  lists  of  casualties 
issued  from  time  to  time  showed.  From  our 
point  of  view  the  results  obtained  were  com- 
mensurate. We  wanted  detail  knowledge  of 
the  enemy's  works  so  as  to  make  proper  plans 
for  the  grand  advance  which  was  to  be  made 
at  the  right  and  proper  time. 

Tlvroughout  the  operations  since  the  Second 
Battle  of  Ypres  the  Germans  had  made  use  of 
all  their  brutal  auxiliary  weapons — poison  gas, 
lachrymatory  shells  and  flame  jets.  When 
gas  had  been  used  at  Ypres  it  came  as  a 
surprise  and.  enabled  the  enemy  to  gain  some 
success,  but  it  soon  becams  only  a  small  factor 
in  warfare,  and  for  all  the  good  it  did  might 
have  been  withdrawn.  We  were  fully  armed 
against  it.  Every  man  carried  a  helmet  which 
filtered  out  the  noxious  gas  and  enabled  him 


EFFECT    OF    A    GERMAN    HOWITZER    SHELL 
Bursting   behind  the  British  lines. 


THE    TIMES    HISTORY    OF    THE    WAS. 


163 


BLOWING  UP  BARBED-WIRE  ENTANGLE- 
MENTS. 
Circle  picture  :    British   troops  stacking  wire. 

to  breathe  the  air,  which,  passing  through  the 
chemicals,  was  rendered  fit  for  human  respira- 
tion.* 

One  of  the  latest  developments  was  the 
introduction  of  "  stink  "  gas,  so  called  from  its 
disagreeable  odour,  but  not  in  itself  danger- 
ous. This  was  sometimes  mixed  with  poison 
gas.  Until  this  little  dodge  of  the  gentle  German 
was  understood  many  accidents  occurred  to  our 
men.  They  were  apt  to  remove  their  protected 
helmets  on  account  of  the  smell  which  pene- 
trated through  them  and  then  fell  victims  to 
the  poison.  The  lachrymatory  shells,  as  their 
name  implies,  produced  a  copious  flow  of  tears. 
To  guard  against  this  goggles  were  introduced 


*  Originally,  chlorine  was  the  gas  the  Germans  made 
use  of,  but  others  were  subsequently  employed.  Chlorine 
produced  the  long  and  agonising  death  that  was  so 
common  with  our  men  when  first  they  met  it.  Later  it 
had  become  possible  to  treat  all  but  the  very  bad  cases 
and  to  nurse  them  back  to  health.  Some  of  the  later 
kinds  of  gases  employed  were  more  subtle  in  their  action, 
and  while  not  instantly  incapacitating,  had  the  property 
of  developing  acute  illness.  The  gases  were  kept  under 
pressure  in  steel  cylinders,  and  let  out  when  the  wind 
was  favourable  and  blew  towards  the  Allied  trenches. 


which  in  the  latest  pattern  helmets  form  part 
of  them.* 

It  will  be  easily  conceived  that  the  combina- 
tion of  stink,  poison,  and  tear -provoking  gases 
would  be  very  deadly  if  proper  means  had  not 
been  introduced  to  render  nugatory  their 
deleterious  effects.  Occasionally  it  happened 
that   a  change   of  direction   of  the  wind  blew 


*  The  material,  usually  benzyl-bromide,  was  fired  in 
5-9  shells  from  howitzers.  Each  shell  held  about  six 
pints  of  it,  and  being  opened  out  by  a  small  bursting 
charge  on  impact,  scattered  the  liquid  about,  which  slowly 
vapovirised.  It  had  a  very  irritating  effect  on  the  eyes, 
making  them  smart  severely  and  producing  a  flood 
of  tears. 


Ilil 


THE    TIMES    HISTORY    OF    THE    WAR. 


165 


back  the  poison  gas  among  the  Germans,  which 
may  be  looked  on  as  a  providential  arrangement. 

Against  the  flame  jets  the  only  defence  was 
to  avoid  them,  which  was  not  always  possible. 
But  fortunately  they  were  very  local  in  their 
effects,  and  had  also  the  disadvantage  of 
destroying  the  wooden  revetments  of  trenches 
(planks,  brushwood,  gabions,  or  hurdles),  and 
therefore  making  it  difficult  for  the  Germans  to 
occupy  them.  On  the  defensive,  to  stop  an 
attack  of  the  Allies,  they  proved  of  some  utility, 
but  always  had  the  disadvantage  of  thoroughly 
rousing  the  temper  of  the  troops  against  whom 
they  were  employed,  with  a  resulting  reluctance 
to  take  prisoners  when  the  German  position  was 
gained. 

On  May  6  the  Anzacs,  who  had  arrived 
at  the  front  but  a  short  time  previously,  had 
their  first  encounter  with  the  Germans.  The 
latter  had  sent  a  reconnoitring  party  to 
penetrate  our  trenches,  which  gave  them 
the  desired  opportunity.  Kor  did  they  wait 
on  the  pure  defensive.  On  the  contrary,  when 
they  saw  the  Germans  approaching,  and 
that  they  were  within  a  short  distance  of  their 
trench,  they  rushed  over  the  parapet  bayonet 
in  hand  to  meet  them.  A  fierce  hand-to-hand 
conflict  took  place,  in  which  the  Germans  were 
pressed  back  ;  reinforcements  were  sent  up  to 
help  them,  and  the  Australians  were  also 
strengthened.  Once  more  the  two  sides  came  to 
handy -strokes,  and  again  our  men,  plying  bomb 
and  bayonet,  drove  back  their  opponents  with 
substantial  losses  in  killed  and  wounded.  It  was 
a  pretty  little  fight,  one  in  which  the  Anzacs 
showed  their  mettle,  and  for  which  they  deserved 
good  credit.  Thus,  within  a  fortnight  of  their 
landing  in  France  they  had  got  their  hearts' 
desire,  and  had  showed  the  Germans  what  they 
could  do  with  them.  The  change  from  the 
trying  conditions  of  Gallipoli  or  the  great  heat 
of  Egypt  was  an  agreeable  one,  and  they 
thoroughly  appreciated  it. 

The  fighting  went  on  continuously  in  the 
Argonne  and  Champagne  region,  and  at  many 
little  points  the  French  had  straightened  their 
line.  One  of  these  incidents  may  here  be 
rlescribed.  The  Germans  at  the  particular  point 
held  a  position  of  vantage  which  was  a  source  of 
considerable  annoyance  to  the  opposing  French 
( rench  only  some  ten  yards  distant  from  it.  As 
a  preliminary  the  French  infantry  were  quietly 
withdrawn  unperceived  by  their  opponents. 
The  retirement  was  necessary  because  otherwise 
the  French  shells  might  have  struck  their  own 


men.  Once  it  was  accomplished,  the  French 
proceeded  to  overwhelm  the  Germans  with  a 
storm  of  15  cm.  (6  in.)  shells.  These  heavy 
projectiles  pulverized  the  selected  point  while  a 
number  of  75  cm.  field  guns  cut  off  access  to  it 
from  either  side  by  barrier  fire.  The  operation 
was  completely  successful,  the  French  infantry 
advanced  and  overpowered  the  defenders 
without  difficulty,  and  then  set  hard  to  work 
to  reconstruct  the  enemy's  position  and  connect 
it  with  their  own  front  line.  Curious  to  relate, 
this  was  acquiesced  in  by  the  Germans  without 
any  attempt  to  reconquer  it. 

On  May  14  there  was  a  renewal  of  activity 
against   the   British   during   the   evening   and 


AN    IRISH    V.C 
Private   Morrow,   1st   Royal  Fusiliers. 

night  between  Loos  and  the  Bethune-La 
Bassee  Canal.  To  the  east  of  the  former 
place  the  enemy  selected  a  small  secticn 
of  our  trenches  for  a  particularly  severe 
bombardment,  and  a  party  of  their  infantry 
succeeded  in  entering  it,  but  was  not  able  to 
make  good  its  footing.  On  our  side,  the  German 
trenches  near  the  Hohenzollern  redoubt  were 
severely  bombarded,  as  were  those  north  and 
just  south  of  the  canal.  The  enemy  sprang  a 
mine  25  yards  from  our  trenches  and  seized  the 
crater,  but  after  a  short  dose  of  shells  from  the 
British  trench  mortars  our  infantry  captured 
it,  driving  back  its  garrison.  This  was  about  the 
only  infantry  fighting.      Both  sides  exploded 

109—2 


16fi 


THE    TIMES    HISTORY    OF    THE    WAR. 


BRITISH    HEAVY     GUN    READY    FOR    ACTION. 


mines  near  Hulluch,  and  our  artillery  fired  with 
success  on  the  enemy's  posts  opposite  Fauquis- 
sart,  and  silenced  his  trench  mortars  near 
St.  Eloi.  While  this  was  going  on  the  German 
artillery  plastered  their  shells  on  the  English 
position  with  a  stern  disregard  of  the  results  of 
their  fire.  Thus  the  ruined  villages  of  Souchez, 
Ablain,  St.  Nazaire  and  Neuville  St.  Vaast  all 
received  a  great  deal  of  useless  attention. 

On  the  night  of  May  15,  on  the  Vimy  Ridge, 
the  Lancashire  troops,  including  the  Loyal  North 
Lancasliire  and  the  Lancashire  Fusiliers,  with 
whom  were  a  company  of  Royal  Engineers  and 
some  Welsh  Pioneers,  who  rendered  most 
valuable  assistance  in  the  assault,  advanced 
and  seized  the  enemy's  forward  line  over  a 
length  of  250  yards,  and  inflicted  considerable 
loss  on  the  Germans.*  The  Yimy  Heights 
were  important  to  the  Allies,  as  the\'  domi- 
nated the  ground  to  the  east  of  them  over 
which  we  should  have  to  pass  in  any  future 
advance,  f 

This  attack  was  the  first  serious  offensive 
movement  against  the  Ridge  since  the  portion 
of  the  old  French  line  at  this  part  had  been 
taken  over  by  the  British.  The  enemy  here 
occupied  a  series  of  craters,  six  in  number,  in 
two  groups  of  three,  separated  from  each  other 
by  an  interval  of  40  yards.     The  craters  formed 

*  This  appears  to  be  a  moderate  estimate ;  some 
observers  rate  the  length  at  360  yards. 

f  It  will  be  remembered  that  at  the  Battle  of  Loos  the 
French  made  a  great  effort  to  secure  this  ground,  but 
failed  io  do  so. 


a  curve  convex  to  the  trench  held  by  our  troops. 
Frcm  them  a  powerful  fire  could  be  brought  to 
bear  on  our  line,  which  was  dominated,  while 
they  also  facilitated  the  observation  of  our 
trenches,  and  it  was,  therefore,  desirable  to 
turn  the  Germans  out  of  them. 

For  the  two  previous  days  the  weather  had 
been  wet  and  cloudy,  so  that  the  enemy  could 
see  but  little  of  our  preparations.  Among 
these  were  two  series  of  nines,  one  directed 
against  the  left  group  of  the  German  craters, 
the  other  against  the  right.  At  the  determined 
moment  our  heavy  artillery  deluged  the 
Ceiman  position  with  powerful  shells  to  send 
the  Germans  back  into  their  dug-outs,  and  then 
our  two  groups  of  mines  were  fired  in  suc- 
cession, throwing  dead  and  living  up  into  the 
air.  The  explosions  blew  up  four  out  of  the 
six  German  craters,  and  knocked  out  a 
maclmie-gun  which  had  been  very  destructive 
to  us.  On  the  German  left  there  was,  however, 
still  one  crater  untouched,  and  against  this 
went  forward  the  Loyal  North  Lancashires. 
The  German  energies  had  already  been  shat- 
tered by  the  explosion  so  close  to  them,  and 
our  men  had  little  trouble  in  seizing  the 
position,  and  disposing  of  its  garrison.  At 
once,  aided  by  the  working  parties  and  the 
Sappers,  they  set  to  work  to  occupy  the  crater 
lip,  and  to  dig  back  communication  trenches 
from  it. 

Simultaneously  with  the  Loya!  North  Lanca- 
shires the   Lancasliire  Fusiliers  had  advanced 


THE    TIMES    HISTORY    OF    THE    WAR. 


167 


to  assault  the  right  group  of  craters  and  the 
interval  of  open  ground  between  this  and  the 
others,  and  they,  too,  were  successful.  Lights 
went  up  from  the  German  side,  and  then  their 
gunners  began  to  overwhelm  the  position  just 
won  with  every  species  of  projectile.  But 
the  men  of  the  Red  Rose  held  firm  to  the 
position  they  had  gained,  and  reinforcements 
of  men  and  bombs  were  sent  up  to  aid  them. 
By  9.30  p.m.,  one  hour  only  after  the  attack 
began,  the  whole  five  Geiman  craters,  or  what 
had  been  Geiman  craters,  were  occupied  by 
our  troops.  The  scene  was  one  of  cruel  anguish, 
for  many  of  the  troops,  both  British  and  Ger- 
man, were  half -buried  beneath  the  mass  of 
earth  which  our  guns  and  mines  had  thrown 
iip.  We  offered  to  cease  fire  if  the  Germans 
would  do  the  same,  so  that  the  wounded  might 
be  rescued,  but  the  only  reply  was  a  volley  of 
bombs.  The  fighting  and  the  working,  there- 
fore, went  on,  and  our  men  managed  to  con- 
solidate their  position  and  hold  it. 

On  May  16,  in  the  Champagne,  the  Germans 
tried  to  surprise  a  French  post  near  Mesnil, 
but  were  driven  off  by  bombs.  In  the  Argonne 
there  was  a  heavy  artillery  contest  near  the 
Four-de-Paris,  the  Courtes  Chaussees,  and 
Vauquois.  Two  raiding  parties  of  Seaforth 
Highlanders  entered  tho  Geiman  trenches 
north  of  Roclincourt  and  succeeded  in  killing 
many    of    the    enemy    and    in    bombing    three 


dug-outs,  one  of  which  was  blown  up.  Our 
own  casualties  were  slight,  and  both  parties 
returned  safely  to  the  trenches. 

Opposite  Auchy  a  patrol  raided  the  enemy's 
trenches,  which  had  been  disturbed  by  a  mine 
explosion,  and  penetrated  towards  the  second 
line,  exchanging  some  bombs  with  it. 

On  May  17-19  the  usual  artillery  and  trench- 
mortar  actions  took  place  along  the  British 
front.  The  Germans  exploded  a  mine 
south-east  of  Roclincourt,  but  we  seized  the 
near  edge  of  the  crater  ;  on  the  other  hand, 
we  fired  a  mine  near  Calonne,  and  effectively 
bombarded  the  enemy's  position  there.  In 
the  Western  Argonne  the  Germans  sprang 
a  mine  and  tried  to  seize  a  salient  near  St. 
Hubert,  but  were  stopped  by  curtain  fire. 

On  Saturday,  May  20,  the  enemy,  after  a 
heavy  bombardment,  raided  our  line  to  the 
south-west  of  Loos.  For  a  time  he  managed 
to  seize  our  front  trench,  but  was  quickly 
driven  out  again,  and  on  the  Vimy  Ridge  the 
Loyal  North  Lancashire  R,egiment  recaptured  a 
crater  which  the  enemy  had  taken  on  the  18th  ; 
we  also  blew  up  a  mine  near  Hulluch  and 
occupied  the  crater. 

In  Lorraine  the  Geimms  succeeded  in  pene- 
trating one  of  the  French  trenches  to  the  west 
of  Chazelles  after  a  violent  bombardment,  but 
tho  artillery  and  machine-gun  fire  soon  obliged 
the  Germans  to  evacuate  the  position. 


READY    FOR    ACTION. 

A  British  heavy  howitzer  on  a  railway  mounting. 


us 


THE    TIMES    HISTORY     OF    THE    WAN. 


On  May  21  the  Germans  determined  to 
recapture  the  position  at  the  north  end  of  the 
Vimy  Ridge.  After  a  heavy  bombardment, 
which  lasted  well  on  into  the  afternoon,  their 
infantry  came  on  and  succeeded  in  penetrating 
our  front  line  of  trenches  on  a  front  of  1,500 
yards,  and  a  deptli  of  100  to  300  yards. 
According  to  the  Germans,  several  lines  of  the 
British  position  over  a  length  of  a  mile  and  a 
quarter  were  captured,  and  during  the  night 
counter-attacks  were  repulsed  and  8  officers 
and  220  men,  with  4  macliine-guns  and  3  trench- 
mortars  were  taken.  On  the  next  day  our 
guns,  in  their  turn,  subjected  the  enemy  to  a 
heavy  bombardment,  but  nothing  more  was 
done.  We  again  sjjrang  mines  near  Roclin- 
eourt,  the  Hohenzollern  Redoubt  and  the 
Quarries,  while  vigorous  mining  was  carried  on 
near  Neuville  St.  Vaast  and  south  of  Fleur- 
baix.  There  was  also  considerable  artillery 
tiring  at  Loos  and  east  of  Ypres. 

May  24  being  Empire  Day,  the  following 
telegram  was  sent  to  the  King  by  General  Sir 
Douglas  Haig  : 

"  On  Empire  Day,  on  behalf  of  your  Majesty's 
Armies  now  in  France,  representative  of  every 
part  of  your  Majesty's  Dominions,  I  respect- 
fully submit  the  assurance  of  our  loyal  devotion 
to  your  Majesty  and  to  the  principles  of  free- 
dom and  justice  which  are  symbolized  for  us 
by  the  Crown  and  flag  of  the  British  Empire." 
His  Majesty  replied  as  follows  : 

"  I  warmly  appreciate  the  assurances  of 
loyal  devotion  which  you  send  me  to-day  in 
the  name  of  the  Armies  of  the  British  Empire 
serving  under  your  command.  Tell  them 
with  what  pride  and  interest  I  follow  their 
fortunes  and  of  my  confidence  that  success 
will  crown  their  efforts.  May  the  comrade 
ship  of  the  battlefield  knit  still  closer  together 
the  peoples  of  the  Dominions  and  Mother 
Country  in  the  age  of  peace  which,  please 
God.  will  be  the  fruit  of  this  long  and  arduous 
war. 

"  George,  R.I." 
In  his  reply  to  an  Empire  Day  message  of 
congratulation  and  goodwill  from  President 
Poincare  the  King  expressed  his  confidence  in 
the  victory  of  the  Allies,  and  declared  the 
solidarity  of  all  his  Empire  with  the  noble 
French  nation. 

During  May  27  the  British  bombarded  the 
enemy's  trenches  to  the  south-east  of  Neuve 
Chapelle,  and  destroyed  some  stores  at  Guille- 
innnt.      The    enemy   for   their   part   directed   a 


heavy  bombardment  lasting  20  minutes  west  of 
Fricourt,  and  then  about  Serre.  The  British 
sprang  five  mines,  three  about  Hulluch  and  two 
south-east  of  Cuinchy.  The  enemy  also  ex- 
ploded one  near  the  Hohenzollern  Redoubt  and 
another  on  the  Vimy  Ridge,  of  which  our  troops 
occupied  the  crater.  On  the  whole  the  Germans 
displayed  rather  more  activity  than  during  the 
previous  few  days  and  expended  a  large 
amount  of  ammunition,  and  the  enemy's  mines 
south-east  of  Neuville  St.  Vaast,  south  of  Loos 
and  east  of  Souchez,  did  some  damage  to  the 
British  trenches,  but  inflicted  no  casualties. 

On  May  28  there  was  considerable  activity  in 
Alsace,  when  the  Germans  attempted  to  push 
home  an  attack  on  Belschweiller  (north-west  of 
Altkirch),  but  it  was  stopped  by  the  French 
fire,  and  in  Champagne  the  French  guns  blew 
up  an  ammunition  depot  in  the  region  of  Ville- 
sur-Turbe. 

On  May  28  and  29  the  German  artillery 
delivered  a  heavy  but  intermittent  fire  against 
the  British  front  between  the  La  Bassee  Canal 
and  Arras,  against  our  trenches  near  Loos,  and 
as  far  north  as  Neuville  St.  Vaast.  On  our  right 
the  re-entrant  in  our  line  about  Mametz  and 
Fricourt  also  formed  a  target  for  German  artil- 
lery fire,  and  from  Zillebeke  to  Hooge  and  near 
Elverdinger  the  British  position  was  also 
shelled.  By  way  of  reply  our  artillery  breached 
the  hostile  parapet  just  north  of  Hooge  and 
destroyed  a  machine-gun  emplacement,  and 
generally  along  the  whole  line  our  guns  did 
considerable  damage  to  the  enemy's  works,  as 
well  as  to  the  hostile  batteries.  There  was  no 
infantry  activity. 

On  May  30  the  enemy  continued  his  general 
bombardment.  That  about  Neuve  Chapelle 
was  particularly  heavy.  It  lasted  for  80 
minutes,  and  was  followed  by  an  infantry  attack 
which  penetrated  our  trenches,  and  took  some 
of  our  men  prisoners.  A  counter  movement 
drove  the  Germans  back.  The  Germans  sprang 
a  mine  north  of  Bethune,  and  our  troops  occu- 
pied the  near  lip  of  the  crater.  There  wa.s  also 
some  mining  activity  near  Loos. 

On  May  31  the  artillery  duel  went  on  unin- 
terruptedly. British  and  German  guns  of  all 
calibres  were  engaged  near  the  Vimy  Ridge,  and 
from  time  to  time  the  fire  became  intense.  The 
activity  of  the  guns  extended  also,  in  a  lesser 
degree,  northwards  in  the  direction  of  Loos 
and  near  Ypres,  and  also  near  the  Somme  the 
same  occurred,  but  beyond  this  there  was  no 


THE    TIMES    HISTORY    OF    THE    WAR. 


169 


•#j£* 


A    MISSILE    USED    IN 

The  rifle-grenade  about   to 

It  will  be  remembered  that  round  Ypres 
there  had  already  been  two  severe  battles.  The 
first  lasted  from  October  20  until  November  11, 
1914,  the  second  April  22-May  13,  1915. 
On  June  2,  1916,  a  series  of  engagements  com- 
menced which  may  be  fittingly  described  as 
the  third  battle.  The  ground  over  which  the 
battle  was  fought  was  roughly  confined  between 
the  Ypres -Menin  road  and  the  Ypres-Comines 
canal.     It   was   in   the   main   an   open,  rolling 


TRENCH    FIGHTING, 
leave  the  rifle  (on  left). 

country  with  no  very  pronounced  feature  ; 
but  the  culminating  portion  of  the  ridge  which 
swept  round  Ypres  had  an  average  height  of 
about  120  feet,  above  that  town  and  was  of 
sufficient  elevation  to  make  its  possession  of 
importance  to  the  British,  for  it  overlooked  the 
ground  in  front  of  it.  Equally  was  it  desirable 
to  the  Germans,  because  if  our  line  were  forced 
back  here  it  would  be  difficult  to  construct  n 
continuous  barrier  behind  it,  and  Ypres  would 


170 


THE    TIMES    HISTORY    OF    THE    WAR. 


,,,«,  ^-u   Polygon  t 
■gNopne  /  r<,"- 
Bosche.     T'£ 


Zandvoorde 


rale  of  One  Mile     ^M§ 


Heights  rnMetres 


THE    THIRD    BATTLE    OF    YPRES. 


have  fallen  into  the  enemy's  hands.  It  must 
not  be  forgotten  that  our  trenches  in  "  the 
Ypres  salient "  had  all  the  disadvantages 
which  that  geometrical  form  possesses,  in  the 
liability  of  the  flanks  to  enfilade  fire  ;  but  still 
the  possession  of  Ypres  was  considered  to 
be  of  sufficient  importance  to  justify  hanging 
on  to  it,  because  if  it  fell  into  German  hands 
it  would  have  been  necessary  to  draw  back 
our  front  line  of  trenches,  both  north  and 
south  of  it,  for  some  considerable  distance. 
North  of  Hooge  was  Bellcwarde  Farm,  a  mass 
of  ruins,  while  to  the  right  of  it  might  be  seen 
the  German  lines  behind  their  wire  entangle- 
ments. Hooge  and  the  trees  round  it  existed 
no  more,  but  the  Sanctuary  Wood  and  the 
copses  along  the  main  ridge  running  south 
from  Hooge  to  Zwartelen  and  Hill  60  still 
afforded  cover.  From  Hill  60  to  the  canal 
the  ground  slopes  gently  downward.  From  the 
hill,  and  running  in  a  north-easterly  direction 
parallel  with  the  railway,  is  a  minor  spur,  at 
first  fairlv  flat  and  then  descending  more 
abruptly  to  Zillebeke  and  the  lake  to  the  west 
of  it,  which  is  110  feet  below  the  main  crest. 
This  spur  afforded  a  secondary  position  for 
the  British,  secured  on  its  left  flank  by  the 
Jake,   but  sormwhat  open   to  enfilade  on  the 


right.  Plainly,  for  the  reasons  given  above, 
the  line  frcm  Bellcwarde  to  Hill  60  was  of 
great  tactical  importance  for  the  British  to 
stop  an  advance  on  Ypres,  for  the  Ceimins  to 
commmd  the  ground  which  led  to  that  ruined 
city.  Tho  German  attack  was  delivered  against 
our  front  between  Hooge  and  the  neighbour- 
hood of  Hill  60,  Zwartelen. 

At  9.15  a.m.  on  June  2  the  enemy's  gun- 
fire reached  an  intense  development,  which 
was  continued  without  intermission  until 
noon.  It  was  directed  not  only  against 
the  front  line  of  trenches,  but  the  ruined 
village  of  Hooge  was  especially  favoured, 
also  the  ground  behind,  j'^rticularly  towards 
Zillobeke  and  Ypres,  forming  a  barrage  to 
prevent  reinforcements  being  sent  to  our  men. 
Although  the  British  gunners  replied  to  this 
they  were  unable  to  subdue  the  fire  of  the 
enemy,  which  seriously  damaged  our  trenches 
and  the  communications  to  the  rear.  The 
Canadians,  who  garrisoned  this  part  of  the 
position  with  British  divisions  to  the  north  of 
them,  fought  well  and  stood  the  pounding 
without  flinching,  although  their  losses  were 
heavy.  Their  troops  included  the  Canadian 
Mounted  Rifles,  the  Royal  Canadian  Regiment, 
Princess  Patricia's  Light  Infantry,  and  Canadian 


THE    TIMES    HISTORY     OF    THE    WAR. 


171 


infantry  from  all  parts  of  the  Dominions.  01 
these  the  Patricia's,  with  some  battalions  of  the 
Royal  Canadian  Regiment,  held  the  northern 
end  of  the  line  south  of  Hooge  and  in  the 
Sanctuary  Wood.  More  to  the  south  were  the 
Canadian  Mounted  Rifles  and  various  other 
units. 

Shortly  before  one  o'clock  the  artillery  fire 
against  our  front  line  was  lifted  and  used  to 
form  a  barrier  to  prevent  reinforcements  coming 
up.  Masses  of  hostile  infantry,  nine  or  ten  batta- 
lions, were  now  seen  approachirg  it  on  a  front 
of  less  than  two  miles,  crossing  the  intervening 
paces  between  the  two  lines,  which  was  often 
not  more  than  100  yards  wide.  By  half-past  two 
the  enemy  had  succeeded  in  penetrating  the 
front  line  at  many  points,  as  he  greatly  out- 
numbered the  defenders.  A  desperate  hand- 
to-hand  struggle  took  place,  which  was  parti- 
cularly fierce  in  the  neighbourhood  of  Sanctuary 
Wood  and  on  the  rising  ground  a  little  to  the 
north  of  Hill  CO,  many  of  the  Canadians  refusing 
to  yield  to  superior  numbers,  and  preferring 
death  to  surrender.  But  the  enemy  gradu- 
ally overpowered  the  brave  defenders,  and 
during  the  afternoon  our  troops  fell  back  to 
a  position  about  1,000  yards  in  rear  of  the 
original  line. 

In  the  wood,  and  in  Maple  Copse  close  to  it, 


it  wn  a  fight  to  the  death  Twice  were  the 
assailants  driven  back  with  heavy  loss  Rein- 
f  orcein  mts  were  brought  up  but  suffered 
severely  from  the  enemy's  barrier  fire.  During 
the  night  the  action  was  not  so  intense,  but 
parties  of  the  enemy  penetrated  to  a  depth  of 
some  700  yards  in  the  direction  of  Zillebeke, 
and  here  and  there  infantry  encounters 
took  place,  while  the  artillery  on  both  sides 
continued  in  action.  That  of  the  British 
gradually  increased  in  vigour  during  the  early 
morning. 

The  position  the  Germans  had  gained  afforded 
them  very  little  defensive  capability,  for  it  had 
been  destroyed  by  the  previous  artillery  fire 
which  they  had  directed  against  it,  and  which 
our  men  had  withstood  for  24  hours  before  they 
fell  back.  Our  guns  also  executed  barrier  fire  to 
prevent  further  reinforcements  from  reaching 
the  enemy.  At  7  o'clock  in  the  morning 
the  Canadian  counter-attack  commenced.  By 
about  8.30  they  had  driven  back  the  German 
centre  and  penetrated  the  lost  trench  at  several 
important  points.  Thus  near  Hooge  a  long 
stretch  was  carried  at  the  first  attempt,  and 
in  a  more  southerly  direction  in  the  middle  of 
the  disputed  line  and  at  two  or  three  points 
lower  down  the  Canadians  won  a  footing,  and 
then  proceeded   systematically  to   bomb   their 


LISTENING    POST 

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THE    TIA1ES    HISTORY    OF    THE    WAR. 


173 


way  right  and  left  until  the  whole  of  the  trench 
had  been  recovered,  including  the  high  ground  a 
little  to  the  north  of  Hill  CO.  The  advance  was 
very  difficult,  especially  on  the  right,  as  the 
attackers  were  taken  in  reverse  by  machine- 
gun  fire  and  suffered  from  a  murderous  artillery 
bombardment,  and  this  prevented  them  holding 
on  to  the  ground  they  had  regained.  Still  the 
outcome  of  the  counter-attack  was  that  part  of 
the  Germans,  especially  in  the  centre  of  the 
ground  they  had  captured,  were  pushed  back 
and  the  limit  of  their  advance  was  reduced  to 
some  350  yards.  Our  troops  proceeded  to 
throw  up  cover  in  the  new  position.  This 
was  concave  to  the  salient  position  we  had 
previously  held,  the  left  horn  resting  on  the 
old  trench  about  1,000  yards  south  of  Hooge, 
while  the  right  was  on  a  point  800  yards  north- 
east of  HOI  60.  The  German  attack  was  in 
the  nature  of  a  surprise,  and  they  managed  to 
capture  Major-General  Mercer  and  Brigadier- 
General  Williams  of  the  3rd  Canadian  Division, 
who  were  inspecting  the  front  trenches  at  the 
time  of  the  assault.  According  to  German 
accounts  the  former  violently  resisted  capture 
and  struck  a  sergeant  across  the  face  with  his 
sword.  He  was  then  bayoneted  and  died  of 
his  wound.  The  losses  of  the  Canadians  were 
severe,  especially  during  the  commencing 
defensive  of  the  battle,  but  the  Germans  in  their 
alternative  roles  of  assailant  and  defender  also 
suffered  heavily. 

On  June  4  there  was  no  material  change  in 
the  situation  ;  we  maintained  the  recaptured 
ground  and  the  fighting  was  limited  to  the 
artillery. 

The  next  day  the  lull  in  the  infantry  opera- 
tions continued,  though  the  artillery  was  still 
very  active  on  both  sides.  On  June  6  the  Ger- 
mans directed  a  heavy  bombardment  to  the 
north  and  south  of  Hooge  and  also  towards 
Ypres-Comines  railway  and  canal.  Between 
3  and  4.30  p.m.  the  enemy  sprang  a  series  of 
mines  over  a  front  of  2,000  yards  to  the  north  of 
Hooge  and  he  succeeded  in  capturing  the  front 
trench  of  the  British  position  where  it  passed 
through  the  village.  Attempts  against  other 
portions  of  the  line  farther  north  were  repulsed 
by  the  British  holding,  There  was  also 
another  attack  directed  against  our  trenches 
west  of  Hooge  ;  but  thereafter  the  struggle 
died  down  again  into  an  intermittent  artillery 
fire  only- 

The  fight  now  became  of  normal  and 
quieter    character,    chiefly    artillery    fire    and 


occasional  small  raids  of  no  very  great  import- 
ance ;  but  on  the  10th  the  German  bombard- 
ment against  our  Ypres  position  became  mucfl 
more  violent,  our  trenches  north  of  the  Ypres- 
Comines  railway,  between  the  hours  of  1  and 
3  p.m.,  being  severely  punished,  as  was  the 
ground  we  held  south  of  Hooge  ;  but  there  were 
no  infantry  engagements.  The  next  day, 
Sunday,  June  11,  during  the  morning,  there  was 
a  further  bombardment  of  Ypres  and  the  ground 
to  the  south  of  it,  also  of  our  trenches  north  of 
the  Menin  road,  while  in  the  afternoon  the 
main  attention  of  the  enemy's  guns  was  directed 
against  the  Canadian  position  from  Hill  60  to 
the  north  for  a  distance  of  1,500  vards.     But 


IN    THE    TRENCHES. 

An  Australian  amusing  himself  with  a  toy 

aeroplane. 

again  there  were  no  infantry  attacks  of  import- 
ance. 

Monday,  June  12,  was  an  uneventful  day, 
with  only  a  heavy  bombardment  between 
Hill  60  and  Hooge  by  both  sides  ;  but  the  13th 
saw  a  vigorous  counter-attack  delivered  by  the 
Canadians  to  regain  the  ground  lost  on  June  2-3. 

Our  artillery  had  been  very  active  during  the 
previous  days  against  the  part  of  the  enemy's 
position  selected  for  assault — viz.,  that  portion 
of  the  ground  the  enemy  had  won  between 
Hill  60  and  Hooge,  the  ridge  dominating  from 
the  east  the  valley  down  to  Zillebeke.  From 
12.45  p.m.  on  the  12th  it  was  raised  to  the 
highest  possible  intensity,  and  lasted  to  1.30  a.m. 
on  the  13th.  The  night  was  very  cold,  wet  and 
dark,  and  indeed  the  weather  for  the  past  week 
had  been  extremely  unpropitious.   But  this  had 

109—3 


174 


THE    TIMES    HISTORY    OF    THE    WAR. 


in  nowise  affected  the  ardour  of  the  men,  who 
burned  to  retake  the  position  they  had  lost  1(1 
days  before.  At  half-past  one  our  fire  lifted  and 
the  infantry  dashed  forward.  The  enemy  poured 
out  a  severe  barrier  fire  to  prevent  the  approach 
of  our  men,  but  so  great  was  their  impetuosity 
that  they  pushed  tlirough  it  and  quickly  gained 
their  objective  before  the  .sun  rose.  The  resist- 
ance of  the  Germans  was  but  feeble  ;  they 
seemed  thoroughly  cowed  by  the  previous 
artillery  preparation,  and  groups  of  them 
surrendered  at  sight,  and  seemed  glad  to  do  so. 
Over  150  prisoners  were  taken.  One  German 
officer  who  surrendeied  with  132  men  said: 
"  I  knew  how  it  would  be.  We  had  orders  to 
take  this  ground  and  took  it,  but  we  knew  you 
would  come  back  again.  You  have  done  so. 
So  here  I  am.'  *   It  was  plain  that  our  continued 

*  Daily  Telegraph,  Juno  16. 


SNIPERS    ON    THE    WESTERN     FRONT. 

Practising. 

Circle  picture  :    A  Sniper  at  work. 

shell-fire  had  prevented  the  enemy  from 
properly  digging  himself  in  and  that  he  could 
not  hold  the  line  effectually.  At  one  point  he 
had  even  failed  to  discover  certain  stores  and 
ammunition  hastily  covered  in  by  the  Canadians 
before  their  retreat. 

Oiir  men  at  once  set  about  consolidating 
their  position  and,  although  subjected  to  very 
heavy  artillery  fire  during  the  next  24  hours, 
clung  bravely  to  the  position  they  had  gained. 
Once  the  enemy  massed  his  infantry  for  attack, 
but  it  was  met  by  such  a  hail  of  fire  from 
our  guns  thai  no  attempt  to  advance  was 
made. 

The  advance  of  the  main  attack  had  been 
much  facilitated  by  two  flank  attacks  or  raids, 
one  on  the  left  by  British  troops  against  the  Ger- 
man trenches  north  of  Hooge,  and  another,  on  the 
right,  made  by  the  Anzaes.  These  were  covered 
by  gas  to  cause  the  enemy  to  believe  they  were 
serious,  and  both  were  successful  and  with  slight 
loss.  They  served  to  prevent  the  concentration 
of  more  German  infantry  and  to  safeguard  the 
Canadian  assault  from  flank  attack. 

Particular  interest  attached  to  certain  docu- 
ments belonging  to  a  German  Grenadier  Regi- 
ment that  were  captured  in  the  Ypres  salient 
by  the  Canadians  during  the  course  of  their 
successful  counter-attack  of  June  13. 

Stress  is  laid  in  these  documents  upon  the 
necessity  to  collect  all  the  debris  after  a  fight. 


THE    TIMES    HISTORY    OF    THE    WAR. 


175 


It     is     urgently     enjoined     that    search    shall 
invariably  be  made  for  the  recovery  of 

"  boots  of  all  lands,  all  sorts  of  weapons  and 
parts  of  them,  entrenching  tools,  steel 
helmets,  leather  equipment,  pouches,  all  kinds 
of  weapons  for  close  fighting,  belts,  tents, 
material  of  all  kinds,  haversacks,  tunics, 
trousers,  and  sandbags.  These  goods  are  of 
most  decisive  importance  to  the  final  success 
of  our  great  cause." 

This  did  not  sound  as  if  the  Germans  were 
too  well  provided  with  equipment.  This  was 
emphasized  by  the  instruction  "  The  enemy's 
dead  will  be  divested  of  articles  of  woollen 
clothing  and  boots."  Special  instructions  are 
given  to  guard  against  the  deterioration  of 
German  fighting  material  : 

"  This  must  be  brought  back  from  the  first 
position  and  its  communication  trenches  as 
soon  as  possible.  The  exceeding  disorder  of 
the  second  line  must  be  at  once  thoroughly 
cleaned  up." 

One  sentence  conveys  what  the  Germans 
really  thought  of  the  men  opposite  to  them  in 
the  Ypres  salient  more  eloquently  than  even  a 
column  of  typical  Teutonic  abuse  :  "  In  view 
of  the  enemy's  characteristics,  we  have  to 
expect  a  strong  attack  at  any  time." 

Six  days  after  this  opinion  was  written  down 
the  attack  came  in  good  sooth,  with  the  result 
already  described. 

June  15  was  marked  by  no  special  activity. 
The  artillery  fire  continued  on  both  sides,  but 
there  were  no  infantry  actions.  Nor  were  any 
further  serious  attempts  made  to  turn  us  out  of 
the  position  gained  during  the  remainder  of  the 
month.  Artillery  fire  there  was,  and  some  small 
minor  operations,  but  no  serious  effort  to  dispute 
our  position. 

Let  us  now  return  to  the  southern  end  of  the 
British  line.  The  principal  efforts  during  June  7 
were  made  by  the  enemy  against  the  sector 
comprised  between  the  Vimy  Ridge  and  the 
La  Bassee  Canal.  The  artillery  fire  was  active 
and  several  mines  were  exploded.  Near  the 
Hohenzollern  Redoubt  we  sprang  a  mine  which 
laid  bare  the  hostile  defences  and  enabled  our 
snipers  to  shoot  down  nine  of  the  defenders.  At 
Souchez  our  artillery  did  good  work,  and  just 
south  of  the  canal  a  successful  raid  drove  out 
the  Germans  from  one  of  their  trenches  and 
inflicted  considerable  loss  on  them.  At  this 
southern  end  of  our  position,  just  as  at  Ypres, 
after  June   13  the    fighting,   while  costing  us 


considerable  losses,  was  not  productive  of  any 
great  tactical  results. 

When,  so  to  say,  two  hostile  forces  engage 
one  another  at  very  short  distances,  often  not 
twice  the  length  of  a  cricket  pitch  apart  and 
rarely  over  100  yards,  it  is  plain  that 
daily  casualties  must  be  incurred  on  no  light 
scale,  and  it  speaks  volumes  for  the  troops  on 
either  side  that  they  stood  this  ever-present 
danger  without  flinching.  By  this  period, 
however,  we  had  attained  a  superiority  in 
artillery,  and  from  time  to  time  overwhelmed 
the  Germans  at  points  where  we  wished  to 
press  forward.  Then  it  was  usually  found,  as  in 
the  case  of  the  Canadian  counter-attack  from 
Hooge  to  Hill  60,  that  the  Germans  were 
shattered  morally  as  well  as  physically.  In 
the  ordinary  routine  of  reciprocal  shell  and 
trench-mortar  fire,  of  sniping  and  patrolling, 
they  still  maintained  their  reputation.  But  it 
became  clearer  and  more  clear  as  the  result  of 
our  experience,  both  in  raids  and  larger  attacks, 
that  they  did  not  relish  the  close-quarter 
combat  with  bomb  and  bayonet. 

To  these  methods  of  destruction  were  added 
the  constant  danger  from  mines,  which  were 
used  by  both  sides  to  an  extent  hitherto 
undreamt  of  in  battle  fighting. 

On  the  early  morning  of  June  22  the  Germans 
sprang  a  very  large  mine  in  the  neighbourhood 
of  Givenchy,  j  ust  north  of  the  La  Bassee  Canal. 
This  they  followed  with  a  heavy  barrage  fire 
behind  the  British  line,  under  cover  of  which 
they  penetrated  our  front  on  a  narrow  space. 
The  Welsh  Fusiliers  were  guarding  this  part 
of  the  line,  and  were  deceived  by  the  calm  into 
thinking  the  Germans  had  no  intention  of  dis- 
turbing the  quietude  of  the  locality.  Suddenly 
there  was  a  terrible  roar,  the  earth  opened, 
and  a  huge  mass  of  timber,  soil  and  sandbags 
was  upheaved  and  fell  back  with  a  crash  into 
a  vast  crater,  120  feet  across,  and  the  trenches 
in  its  neighbourhood,  destroying  the  parapets 
and  replacing  the  well-ordered  constructions 
by  a  cleared  space  and  a  deep  pit.  Then 
came  the  hostile  artillery  fire,  pounding  the 
position  and  seeking  by  a  veil  of  shells  to  cut 
off  all  access  to  it.  It  was  followed  by  three 
distinct  assaulting  parties,  who  rushed  forward 
to  occupy  the  mine-pit.  But  the  Welshmen 
were  equal  to  the  situation.  Some  had  been 
blown  up,  others  dazed  by  the  shock,  yet 
right  and  left  of  the  riven  ground  there  were 
others  eager  for  revenge.  They  closed  on  the 
flanks   of  the   raiding  party  and   drove   them 


176 


THE    TIMES    HISTORY    OF    THE    WAR. 


177 


IMMELMANN. 

The  German  airman,  killed  in  June, 

1916. 


LIEUT.    MCCUBBIN. 
Who  brought  down  Immelmann 


back,  fighting  hard,  into  the  crater,  out  of  it, 
and  back  to  their  own  trenches.  The  Germans 
had  captured  a  machine  gun  and  tried  to  take  it 
with  them,  but  the  men  dragging  it  were  all  shot 
down,  and  after  lying  in  the  open  till  Saturday 
morning  it  was  recovered  by  the  Fusiliers. 

A  pleasant  incident  in  this  little  fight  was 
the  gallant  conduct  of  a  pioneer  battalion 
working  in  the  vicinity.  The  men  rushed 
forward  with  their  spades  and  dealt  shrewd 
blows  with  them  on  the  astonished  Germans. 

During  the  night  of  June  24-25  there  was 
an  attempted  raid  by  the  enemy  on  our  trenches 
north-east  of  Loos,  which  was  easily  driven 
back.  All  day  long  on  the  25th  our  artillery 
were  very  active  along  the  whole  front,  and  at 
places  there  were  considerable  replies  by  the 
enemy,  who  also  exploded  four  mines — two 
opposite  Hullueh,  one  south  of  the  Bethune- 
La  Bassee  line,  and  one  north  of  Neuve  Chapelle. 
None  of  them  caused  any  casualties  ;  nor  did 
one  sprung  on  the  24th  near  the  Hohenzollern 
Redoubt.  On  the  other  hand,  we  destroyed 
six  kite  balloons  out  of  15  which  we  at- 
tacked. 

On  the  night  of  the  25th-26th  we  executed 
ten  successful  raids,  which  inflicted  considerable 
loss  on  the  enemy,  who  also  lost  prisoners 
while  our  casualties  were  slight.  Our  artillery, 
too,  fired  with  great  effect,  damaging  the  hostile 
lines  in  many  places,  and  causing  four  heavy 
explosions  among  the  rearward  part  of  the 
German  position. 

The  preparatory  bombardment  of  the  enemy 
to  pave  the  way  for  the  great  advance  of  July 


BOELCKE. 

The  German  airman,  who  claimed 

his  nineteenth  victory,  June,   1916. 

had  begun.  From  Ypres  to  the  Somme  his 
position  was  subjected  to  a  hail  of  projectiles, 
generally  distributed,  but  also  concentrated  at 
various  points,  so  as  to  leave  the  enemy  in 
doubt  as  to  where  the  attack,  which  he  quite 
appreciated  was  coming,  would  really  be 
delivered.  The  German  reply,  except  for  short 
intervals  and  against  a  few  places,  was  feeble 
and  ineffectual. 

Our  fire  was  one  of  pure  devastation  intended 
to  destroy  the  Germans,  their  batteries  and 
trench  defences,  blow  up  their  ammunition 
depots,  and  bombard  far  back  their  resting 
places  and  lines  of  communication.  This  was 
all  effectively  done.  Nor  was  the  infantry 
idle.  Raids  were  made  on  the  enemy's 
trenches,  inflicting  heavy  losses  on  him,  but 
with  few  casualties  to  ourselves.  Some  of 
these  attacks  were  covered  by  gas,  and  at  one 
place  where  this  had  been  employed  the  trenches 
when  entered  by  our  men  were  full  of  German 
dead.  No  less  than  a  dozen  successful  raids  were 
made  by  our  men  on  June  28-29,  in  which  the 
Liverpool  Regiment,  the  Lancashire  Fusiliers, 
the  Oxford  and  Bucks  Light  Infantry,  the 
Highland  Light  Infantry,  and  the  Australians 
all  took  part. 

The  prologue  of  the  play  was  coming  to  an 
end,  and  in  a  couple  of  days  the  grand  drama 
would  commence.  All  this  time  the  battle  raged 
round  Verdun  and  in  the  Champagne.  Further 
away,  in  Alsace,  there  had  been  more  or  less 
continuous  fighting.  The  German  was  every- 
where held  ;  the  Allies  were  about  to  begin  their 
offensive. 


O     « 
H    2 

Z  f, 


< 


J3 
=    If 

H  x 


178 


CHAPTER   CXLII. 


THE  WORK  OF  THE  Y.M.C.A. 


Work  fob  Territorials  and  Volunteers  in  Peace  Time — Beginnings  of  the  War  Work — 
Origin  of  the  Y.M.C.A. — Training  Camps — Marquees  and  Huts — The  Y.M.C.A.  in  France — 
Hostels  for  Soldiers'  Relatives — Railway  Station  Work — The  Shakespeare  Hut — Estab- 
lishments in  London — Work  for  the  Navy — H.M.S.  Crystal  Palace — Munition  Workers — 
Troops  from  the  Dominions — The  Y.M.C.A.  in  India. 


SIR  GEORGE  WILLIAMS,  the  Founder 
of  the  Young  Men's  Christian  Associa- 
tion, took  a  keen  interest  during  the 
closing  days  of  his  life  in  the  experiment 
made  by  one  of  its  auxiliaries  at  the  time  of  the 
South  African  War.  This  included  the  provision 
of  marquees  for  the  use  of  the  troops  as  reading, 
writing  and  recreation  centres,  and  also  as 
meeting  places  for  religious  services.  It  was 
thus  that  the  National  Council  of  Y.M.C.A. 's 
entered  upon  its  first  comiexion  with  the  soldier 
in  actual  warfare,  and  the  modest  beginning 
proved  a  great  success  Before  this  period  the 
Association  had  established  relations  with  the 
Volunteers,  and  then  later  with  the  Territorials, 
during  their  fortnight's  training  in  camp,  by 
setting  up  its  marquee  equipment  in  the  centres 
marked  out  for  summer  training  camps  and 
providing  a  place  where  the  men  could  write 
their  letters — usually  it  was  the  official  post 
office — and  purchase  tea,  coffee  and  light 
refreshments. 

When  the  war  began  these  two  experiences 
decided  the  Y.M.C.A  to  prepare  similar  services 
for  the  new  Army.  It  had  the  machinery  ready 
and  its  work  with  the  Volunteers  and  Terri- 
torials inspired  confidence  as  to  the  results. 
Mr.  A.  K.  Yapp,  the  General  Secretary  of  the 
National  Council  of  Y.M.C.A.'s,  suggested  an 
immediate  appeal  for  £25,000.  The  appeal  was 
launched  by  a  special  War  Work  Committee, 


of  which  Sir  Thomas  Sturmey  Cave  was  chair- 
man, Mr.  A.  K.  Yapp  secretary,  and  Mr.  F.  J. 
Chamberlain  assistant  secretary.  Somewhat 
later  Sir  Henry  E.  Procter  became  acting 
treasurer.  In  a  few  weeks'  time  the  £25,000 
appeared  to  be  totally  inadequate  and  another 
£25,000  was  required  immediately.  Before  this 
second  amount  was  received  it  was  seen  that 
even  £50,000  would  not  meet  the  demands  which 
poured  in  from  all  parts  of  the  United  Kingdom. 
Extensions  often  proceeded  before  the  money 
was  in  hand,  owing  to  the  urgent  character  of 
the  work,  but  in  the  first  two  years  of  war  the 
subscriptions  amounted  to  £830,000 — a  total 
which  included  donations  from  the  King  and 
Queen,  Queen  Alexandra,  and  other  members  of 
the  Royal  Family,  as  well  as  gifts  from  rich  and 
poor  alike.  As  the  war  advanced  many  gifts 
were  made  in  order  to  perpetuate  the  memory 
of  sons  and  brothers,  and  in  France,  at  home, 
and  elsewhere  there  soon  were  many  memorial 
huts.  Children  in  the  elementary  schools  raised 
over  £16,000  by  gifts  from  many  thousands  of 
schools.  Harrow  in  the  second  year  of  war  gave 
a  complete  building,  and  other  public  schools 
rendered  help  in  a  most  generous  spirit.  Livery 
companies  and  railway,  banking  and  commercial 
undertakings  added  their  share  to  the  funds, 
while  humbler  people  brought  their  shillings. 

To  appreciate  the  significance  of  this  assist- 
ance, the  beginnings  of  the  Y.M.C.A.  have  to 


179 


180 


THE    TIMES    HISTORY     OF    THE    WAR. 


A    HUT    FOR    SOLDIERS    AND    SAILORS. 

The    Duchess  of  Argyll  opening  the  Rest  and  Refreshment  Hut  at  King's  Cross. 

Left  to  right  :    Duchess  of  Argyll,   Major-General  Sir  Francis  Lloyd,   Mrs.  Joy  and  Mr.    Alexander  Joy, 

the  donors  of  the  Hut. 


be  remembered.  The  movement,  as  originally 
started  in  England — from  whence  it  spread 
throughout  the  world — came  from  an  evan- 
gelical source.  Its  creed  of  membership  con- 
tained evangelical  doctrine,  and  the  Paris  Con- 
ference which  determined  its  international 
character  set  forth  the  following  basis  : 

The  Young  Men's  Christian  Associations  seek  to 
unite  those  young  men  who,  regarding  Jesus  Christ  as 
their  God  and  Saviour  according  to  the  Holy  Scriptures, 
desire  to  be  His  disciples  in  their  doctrine  and  in  their 
life,  and  to  associate  their  efforts  for  the  extension  of 
His  Kingdom  among  young  men. 

The  founders  were  good  men,  for  the  greater 
part  trained  in  a  somewhat  narrow  mould.  At 
the  commencement,  in  1844,  the  object  was 
described  as  "  the  improvement  of  the  spiritual 
condition  of  young  men  engaged  in  the  drapery 
and  other  trades  by  the  introduction  of 
religious  services  among  them."  Membership 
was  confined  to  those  possessing  a  definite 
religious  experience.  One  of  the  rules  stipulated 
"  that  no  person  shall  be  considered  a  member 
of  this  Association  unless  he  be  a  member  of  a 
Christian  Church,  or  there  be  sufficient  evidence 
of  his  being  a  converted  character."  In  the 
early  'sixties  a  severe  rebuke  was  administered 
to  Archbishop  Trench  and  Dr.  Dale,  the  well- 
known  evangelical  theologian  of  Birmingham, 
because  they  had  "  trailed  their  Christian 
priesthood  in  the  dust  to  offer  homage  at  the 


shrine  of  a  dead  playwright  "  at  the  Shake- 
speare tercentenary  celebrations.  There  was 
also  a  reference  to  "  the  oratorio  of  the  '  Messiah  ' 
wherein,  as  John  Newton  once  said,  roughly 
but  pointedly,  "  the  Redeemer's  agonies  are 
illustrated  on  catgut.'  Masquerade  and  sermon, 
pageant  and  oratorio  ! — it  is  very  mournful." 
Nevertheless,  and  largely  owing  to  the  indomit- 
able enthusiasm  of  the  founder,  Sir  George 
Williams,  the  branches  increased  at  home,  in 
France,  and  other  parts  of  the  Continent,  and 
eventually  in  the  United  States  and  our  Over- 
seas Dominions.  Its  social  features  were 
developed  cautiously — if  not  jealously — because 
its  leaders  feared  that  the  religious  side  of  the 
work  might  be  jeopardized.  Smoking  was 
prohibited  in  Y.MG.A.  buildings  and  the 
members  were  advised  to  abstain  from  athletic 
contests.  Naturally  such  points  were  criticized 
by  the  younger  men  who  gradually  came  into 
their  own  on  the  committees,  and  presently  a 
broader  and  more  catholic  policy  found  expres- 
sion. According  to  current  opinion,  the  Asso- 
ciation created  a  particular  type  of  young  man 
supposed  to  be  addicted  to  personal  introspec- 
tion and  lacking  virility  and  commonsense.  In 
some  quarters  the  Y.M.C.A.  provoked  satire 
and  derision,  and  in  both  Church  of  England  and 
Nonconformist  circles  there  did  not  appear 
that     measure     of     cooperation      that     might 


THE    TIMES    HISTOBY    OF    THE    WAR. 


181 


have  been  expected.  The  general  situation  with 
respect  to  the  establishment  and  progress  of  the 
Y.M.C.A.  and  its  limitations  up  to  the  time  of 
the  war  need  to  be  remembered  in  connexion 
with  what  was  afterwards  accomplished. 

Neither  barracks  nor  temporary  buildings 
were  sufficient  at  first  to  house  the  hundreds 
of  thousands  of  recruits  who  joined  the  new 
armies.  Away  on  lonely  commons,  under 
canvas,  in  barns,  halls  and  schools,  billeted  in 
private  houses,  or  in  many  cases  occupying 
empty  ones — often  without  beds,  blankets, 
chairs,  forms  or  tables — their  accommodation 
taxed  all  resources  to  the  breaking  point. 
Moreover,  coming  straight  from  civilian  life, 
many  from  middle-class  families,  the  men  found 
the  social  amenities  in  camp  less  than  those 
usually  enjoyed  by  the  soldier  in  barracks. 
It  was  at  this  point  that  the  Y.M.C.A.  came 
to  the  assistance  of  the  New  Army.  The 
methods  adopted  appeared  exceedingly  simple. 
In  the  early  days  of  the  war  marquees  were 
erected  in  every  camp  to  which  commanding 
officers  gave  permission.  Tea,  coffee  and  re- 
freshments were  supplied  during  the  soldier's 
off-duty  hours.  He  could  obtain  an  early  cup 
of  tea  before  going  on  duty  at  six  o'clock  on  an 


autumn  morning,  and  when  he  returned  after  a 
night  march  he  usually  found  hot  refreshments 
before  he  turned  in  for  the  night.  Cigarettes, 
matches,  boot-laces,  buttons  and  other  sundries 
could  be  obtained  at  the  Y.M.C.A.  counter. 
The  Association  never  coveted  the  position  of 
haberdasher  and  tobacconist  to  the  troops,  but 
when  the  camp  was  situated  miles  away  from 
a  town  the  soldier  appreciated  this  service. 

Concerned  with  the  social  benefit  of  the 
soldier  the  leaders  did  not  disguise  their  defi 
nitely  religious  objects  when  they  undertook 
this  war  work.  They  appreciated  the  fact, 
however,  that  religion  cannot  be  forced  on  men. 
They  did  not  therefore  attempt  either  religious 
button-holing  or  cross-examination.  An  un- 
denominational service  was  arranged  on  Sun- 
day evenings,  but  in  the  mornings  the  marquee 
could  be  used  by  Church  of  England.  Roman  or 
Free  Church  chaplains.  This  hospitality  on 
the  part  of  a  religious  organization  with  deeply 
embedded  Protestant  traditions  received  grate- 
ful thanks  in  due  course  from  Cardinal  Bourne 
and  from  the  Rev.  M.  Adler,  the  chief  Jewish 
chaplain. 

At    the   start   the   service    of    nearly    every 
available  Y.M.C.A.  official  in  the  country  was 


INSIDE    A    HUT    AT    WIMBLEDON    CAMP. 
Soldiers  writing  to  their  friends. 


lv 


THE    TIMES    HISTORY    OF    THE    WAR. 


requisitioned.  So  great  was  the  pressure 
owing  to  the  rapid  extension  of  the  agencies 
that  the  leaders  gladly  availed  themselves  of 
the  help  of  teachers,  undergraduates  and 
others  who  were  free  from  their  ordinary 
duties  during  the  holiday  period  that  followed 
the  outbreak  of  the  war.  Some  mistakes 
occurred  here  and  there,  and  men  unfitted  by 
temperament  and  lack  of  knowledge  for  such 
positions  were  found  in  places  of  trust,  but  on 
the  whole  these  instances  were  comparatively 
few.  The  enthusiasm  of  the  undertaking  and 
the  splendid  spirit  of  the  new  Army  carried  the 
helpers  along,  and  it  was  not  unusual  for  them 
to  keep  at  their  duties  in  the  marquees  during 
16  or  18  hours  of  every  day  in  the  week. 

From  the  first  the  work  won  the  approval  of 
the  Army  authorities.  They  smoothed  away 
difficulties,  provided  facilities  for  transport, 
and  detailed  orderlies  for  pitching  the  marquees 
and  other  heavy  work.  The  marquees  were 
usually  within  the  camp  boundaries,  and  be- 
came a  part  of  the  life  of  the  camp.  This 
recognition  by  the  military  authorities  proved 
a  great  asset. 

The  winter  of  1914  settled  the  policy  of  the 
Y.M.C.A.      A  brilliant  autumn  was  followed  by 


an  exceptionally  wet  winter.  Even  high  and 
exposed  country  like  Salisbury  Plain  resembled 
a  morass,  while  the  roads  in  the  district  were 
covered  with  water  four  or  five  inches  deep. 
The  autumnal  gales  wrecked  scores  of  marquees, 
and  it  became  necessary,  instead  of  the  mar- 
quees, which  were  comparatively  cheap  and 
portable,  to  embark  on  the  erection  of  huts, 
costing  on  an  average  £600  to  £700.  Some  of 
the  first  to  be  erected  accommodated  the  Cana- 
dian troops  just  arrived  in  England.  Many 
improvements  were  subsequently  made  in  the 
interior  arrangements  of  the  huts.  An  audi- 
torium was  provided  at  Crowborough.  for 
example,  to  seat  2,000  men.  Satisfactory 
cooking  arrangements  were  possible  in  the 
hut,  which  enabled  the  helpers  to  prepare 
more  expeditiously  the  hot  refreshments  re- 
quired by  the  men.  In  large  camps  a  double 
hut  was  built,  which  contained  a  special  room 
for  concerts,  lectures  and  services  apart  from 
the  common  room  used  for  games,  correspon- 
dence, and  the  serving  of  refreshments  from  the 
counter. 

In  addition  to  marquees  and  huts,  public 
halls,  mission  rooms  and  other  suitable  build- 
ings were  hired  in  centres  occupied  by  thousands 


DINING    HALL   AND    RECREATION    ROOM    FOR    SHELL-MAKEKS   AT   WOOLWICH. 


Munition  workers  going  to  dinner. 


THE    TIMES    HISTORY    OF    THE    WAR. 


jR3 


FOR    CIVILIANS    AND    SERVICE    MEN. 

Mr.  Lloyd  George  visits  the  dining-room  for  mun 
tion    workers   at    Ponder's    End,    while    Mrs.    Llovd 
George  (smaller  picture)  distributes  chocolates  and 
cigarettes  to   soldiers    at    the    Temperance   Hut    at 
Hampstead   Heath. 

of  troops.  One  of  the  most  notable  enter- 
prises was  the  transformation  of  a  huge  shell  - 
like  building  in  the  White  City  at  Shepherd's 
Bush,  formerly  occupied  by  Bostock's  menagerie, 
for  the  use  of  10,000  Territorials  in  training 
there  during  the  winter  of  1914.  The  usual 
activities  were  here  supplemented  by  the  estab- 
lishment of  a  lending  library  and  the  organization 
of  war  lectures.  Both  agencies  justified  them- 
selves, and  as  tho  war  progressed  this  depart- 
ment received  increasing  attention  not  only  at 
home,  but,  as  will  be  shown  later,  in  the  British 
camps  overseas. 

Whether  in  hut,  marquee  or  elsewhere  the 
effort  was  made  to  provide  club  facilities. 
Apart  from  the  officers'  quarters  the  Y.M.C.A. 
centre  was  the  only  place  that  boasted  chairs 
and  tables  for  the  men.  The  Bishop  of  London, 
one  of  the  few  English  Bishops  who  had 
practical  experience  of  the  camps  (having  spent 
a  month  under  canvas  at  Crowborough),  in 
recording  his  impressions  of  camp  life,  stated 
that  marquees  where  the  men  could  write 
letters  home  were  immensely  appreciated,  and 
that  was  the  reason  why  the  Y.M.C.A.  was  so 
popular  with  the  men.     From  the  commence- 


ment notepaper  and  envelopes  were  supplied 
free,  and  this  distribution  involved  many  million 
sheets  of  paper  and  envelopes  at  a  considerable 
cost. 

The  soldier's  love  of  music  was  recognized  in 
the  provision  for  the  Territorial  camps.  Every 
marquee  had  its  piano.  A  penny  edition  of 
"  Camp  Songs  "  sold  in  hundreds  of  thousands. 
This  little  book  contained  a  selection  of  humor- 
ous, sentimental  and  patriotic  songs  that  are 
always  favourites  with  men,  and  proved  of 
considerable  service  in  promoting  the  success 
of  the  "sing-song."  After  a  long  and  tedious 
day  the  camp  "  sing-song  "  gave  that  happy 
relief  to  a  large  body  of  men  which  cannot  b"> 
found  in  any  other  way.  The  "sing-song  ' 
closed  a  few  minutes  before  the  men  had  to  be 
in    their  quarters    for    the    night,   and    almost 


184 


THE    TIMES    HISTORY    OF    THE    WAR. 


THE    LATE    SIR    GEORGE    WILLIAMS, 
Founder  of  the  Y.M.C.A. 

invariably  the  majority  remained  for  a  hymn 
and  short  prayer,  followed  by  the  National 
Anthem.  No  one  was  forced  to  stay,  and  the 
whole  service  lasted  but  a  few  minutes. 

Neither  at  the  period  of  the  commencement 
of  the  war  nor  in  its  later  days  were  the  soldiers, 
speaking  generally,  subject  to  the  conditions  of 
a  religious  revival,  such  as  was  claimed  in 
some  quarters.  They  were,  however,  eager 
listeners  and  interested  in  unconventional 
religious  services  with  plenty  of  singing. 
Here  they  showed  preferences  of  a  striking 
character.  They  loved  to  sing  Dr.  Monsell's 
"  Fight  the  good  Fight,"  Charles  Wesley's 
"  Sun  of  my  Soul  "  and  Cardinal  New- 
man's "  Lead  Kindly  Light."  The  Sunday 
evening  service  was  addressed  by  a  chaplain  or 
one  of  the  Y.M.C.A.  helpers,  and  frequently 
when  this  closed  the  men  continued  another 
hour  singing  further  hymns.  An  attempt  to 
measure  the  religious  influences  would  be  mis- 
leading, but  thousands  of  signatures  were 
secured  for  the  Y.M.C.A.  War  Roll. 


Trained  to  a  strict  observance  of  the  Sabbath, 
the  Y.M.C.A.  leaders  perforce  modified  their 
opinions  and  opened  the  huts  and  marquees 
during  the  whole  of  the  seven  days.  The 
majority  of  the  centres  were  not  closed,  except 
at  night,  from  the  time  they  were  first 
opened.  Several  huts  kept  open  doors  both 
night  and  day.  Sunday  trading  naturally 
presented  a  difficult  proposition.  Some  people 
severely  criticized  the  policy  adopted,  but  the 
large  majority  who  know  the  conditions  recog- 
nized the  necessity  of  the  course  that  was 
followed.  The  Association  had  to  decide 
whether  the  sale  of  hot  refreshments  should  be 
prohibited  on  Sundays  and  the  men  driven  to 
the  wet  canteen.  Whilst  replying  in  the  nega- 
tive, they  limited  Sunday  labour  as  far  as 
possible  and  restricted  amusements,  but  neces- 
saries could  be  purchased  at  the  counter  as  on 
other  days. 

Soon  after  the  war  commenced  the  necessity 
became  evident  of  establishing  in  France 
similar  agencies  for  the  troops  to  those  that 
had  been  provided  at  home.  Lord  French, 
then  in  command  of  the  British  Expeditionary 
Force,  expressed  complete  sympathy  with  this 
desire  though  unable  owing  to  the  nature  of 
the  military  operations  to  suggest  an  imme- 
diate beginning.  By  November,  1914,  however, 
the  Y.M.C.A.  was  permitted  to  start  its  work 
in  some  of  the  base  and  rest  camps  as  an 
experiment,  on  the  implied  understanding  that 
if  successful  it  would  be  allowed  to  make 
extensions.  This  cautious  policy  was  probably 
wise  in  the  absence  of  previous  experience,  for 
the  fact  had  to  be  determined  to  what  extent 
voluntary  agencies  could  be  associated  with 
the  British  Army  in  the  war  zone.  Many 
questions  were  involved,  including  the  difficul- 
ties of  transport  and  the  exact  relation  of  a 
civilian  organization  to  military  discipline 
which  was  necessarily  stricter  than  at  home. 
The  tentative  period  proved  the  value  of  the 
work.  Writing  on  November  23,  1915,  after  a 
full  year's  experience,  Viscount  French  testified 
to  "  the  fine  work  done  by  the  Y.M.C.A." 
Continuing  he  said  : 

The  problem  of  dealing  with  conditions,  at  such  a 
time,  and  under  existing  circumstances,  at  the  rest 
camps  has  always  been  a  most  difficult  one  ;  but  the 
erection  of  huts  by  the  Young  Men's  Christian  Associa- 
tion has  made  this  far  easier.  The  extra  comfort 
thereby  afforded  to  the  men,  and  the  opportunities  for 
reading  and  writing,  have  been  of  incalculable  service, 
and  I  wish  to  tender  to  your  Association  and  all  those 
who  have  assisted,  my  most  grateful  thanks. 


THE    TIMES    HISTORY    OF    THE    WAR. 


185 


The  history  of  European  wars  contains  no 
experience  similar  to  that  of  this  large  and  or- 
ganized enterprise  for  assisting  soldiers  in  the 
field  with  social  and  religious  agencies.  Military 
commanders  naturally  placed  such  efforts 
outside  their  sphere  of  action,  and  neither 
churches  nor  other  bodies  previously  realized 
the  necessity  and  value  of  these  undertakings. 
The  Salvation  Army  and  the  Church  Army 
followed  the  British  soldier  into  France  on  more 
or  less  similar  lines,  but  the  Y.M.C.A.  deserves 
the  honour  of  the  start  as  well  as  recognition 
for  the  completeness  of  its  organization. 

From  November,  1914,  the  agencies  in 
France  were  gradually  extended,  until  by  the 
time  the  war  had  been  two  years  in  progress 
1 80  centres  had  been  established.  The  maj  ority 
of  these  were  huts,  built,  so  far  as  later  editions 
were  concerned,  in  5  ft.  sections,  so  that  they 
could  be  easily  moved.  Various  kinds  of 
buildings  were  also  requisitioned,  including 
an  old  church,  a  convent,  a  cinema,  a  winter 
garden  and  theatre,  a  mayor's  parlour,  and 
farm  buildings  and  structures  of  various 
descriptions,  upon  all  of  which  the  sign  of  the 
Red  Triangle  was  affixed — an  indication  of  a 
warm  and  constant  welcome  to  the  British 
troops.  At  the  earnest  wish  of  the  Y.M.C.A. 
leaders,  the  generals  commanding  divisions 
at  length  permitted  them  to  go  up  to  villages 
where  the  men  in  the  trenches  had  their  billets. 
The  Heath  Harrison  Hut,  for  instance,  was 
situated  near  cross  roads  3J  or  4  miles  from 
the  German  lines  and  exposed  to  shell  fire. 
From  early  morning  until  late  at  night  a 
continuous  queue  passed  to  and  from  the 
refreshment  counter,  and  indicated  the  benefit 
of  the  place  to  these  trench  heroes.  Again,  the 
Threapwood  Hut  was  situated  within  a  mile  or 


so  of  the  enemy,  and  before  it  was  destroyed  by 
the  German  fire,  fifty  evidences  of  the  damage 
by  bursting  shell  or  shrapnel  were  to  be  seen 
in  the  building.  The  safety  of  the  workers 
had  been  ensured  to  some  extent  by  the  pro- 
vision of  a  dug-out  by  the  military  authorities, 
and  when  the  Germans  managed  to  drop  a  shell 
upon  it  the  leader  and  his  helpers,  warned  of 
the  danger,  were  able  to  escape. 

By    permission    of    Her    Majesty,    the    first 
Y.M.C.A.  building  erected  in  France  was  named 
the  "  Queen  Mary  Hut."     This  was  situated  a 
short  distance  from  the   quay  of  one   of   the 
French   harbours,   being   largely   used   by   the 
men    who    came    from    the    Port    of    London 
Authority  to  unload  the  transports.     Though 
dressed    in   khaki,    they   ranked   as    non-com- 
batants  and   did   the  work   of  ordinary  dock 
labourers.     Hanging  in  the  Queen  Mary  Hut 
was  a  framed  copy  of  the  Queen's  letter  ex- 
pressing warm  sympathy  with   the   Y.M.C.A. 
work  in  France.     Other  members  of  the  Royal 
Family    exhibited    similar    interest.     Princess 
Victoria  of   Schleswig-Holstein  rendered  great 
service  by  accepting  the  post  of  President  of 
the     Ladies'     Auxiliary     Committee     for     the 
Y.M.C.A.  base  camps  in  France.     The  Princess 
paid  visits  to  France  and  inspected  the  whole 
of  the  arrangements  in  order  to  effect  improve- 
ments    and     modifications.      Her     committee 
collected  parcels  of  comforts,  footballs,  cricket 
sets,   musical   instruments,   and   other   articles 
for  the  use  of  the  men.     The  same  committee 
also   organized   lady   helpers,   who   gave   their 
services   and  thus  saved   the  necessity  of  em- 
ploying  men    required    for    the    fighting    line. 
These  ladies,  to  the  number  of  300,  performed 
arduous   duties   in   an   admirable  manner   and 
to  the  complete  advantage  of  the  work. 


MR.   J.   J.    VIRGO, 
Field   Secretary,   Y.M.C.A. 


LORD    KINNAIRD, 

President  of  the  National 

Y.M.C.A.   Council. 


MR.    A.    K.    YAPP, 
General  Secretary,  Y.M.C.A. 


ISC, 


THE     TIMES    HISTORY    OF    THE    WAR. 


The  whole  of  the  operations  in  France  were 
controlled  on  the  spot  by  Mr.  Oliver  McCowen, 
bL.I!..  who  was  originally  V.M.C.A.  secretary 
in  Burmah.  He  gradually  built '  up  a  large 
organization,  which  by  August.  l!)l(i,  consisted 
of  a  staff  of  700  workers.  Only  a.  small  pro- 
portion  were  men  of  military  age,  for  whom 
exemption  had  been  claimed,  and  these 
principally  took  the  places  of  ladies  who  were 
naturally  prohibited  from  serving  near  the 
firing  line.  Many  of  Mr  McCowen's  assis- 
tants were  active  clergy  and  ministers  who 
obtained  leave  of  absence  lrorn  their  home 
duties.  Many  well-known  people  gave  their 
services  for  special  duties.  Professors  from  the 
Universities  lectured  on  war  or  literary  subjects 
and  found  eager  audiences.  Miss  Lena  Ashwel! 
organized  concert  parties,  which  brought  keen 
enjoyment  and  pleasure  to  the  men  in  the 
huts  and  in  the  hospitals.  One  and  all 
roughed  it  with  no  thought  for  the  dis- 
comforts of  wind,  rain,  and  heat,  and  the 
long  hours. 

The  British  camps  in  France  not  only  per- 
mitted the  usual  features  of  the  work  at  home — 
such  as  the  religious  services,  letter  -writing, 
games,  and  "  sing-songs  " — but  afforded  many- 


interesting  additions.  When  a  British  battalion 
arrived  at  a  French  port,  tired,  unwashed 
and  unshaven  after  a  rough  passage  across  the 
Channel,  they  found  hot  refreshments  awaiting 
their  purchase.  Wearied  by  the  long  journey 
over  land  and  sea,  they  had  the  chance  of  a 
rest,  and  relieved  their  home -sickness — a  feeling 
common  to  many  lads  on  first  landing  on  a 
foreign  soil — by  writing  home.  On  such  days 
thousands  of  communications  passed  through 
the  letter-box. 

Under  normal  conditions  a  great  stream  of 
men  started  daily  from  the  trenches  on  their 
seven  days'  furlough.  They  arrived  at.  the 
railhead  laden  with  their  kit  and  with  the  mud 
of  the  trenches  thick  upon  them.  Here  they 
foimd  the  sign  of  the  Red  Triangle  and  secured 
a  wash,  food  and  sleep  until  the  leave  train 
passed  on  its  way.  At  the  principal  stopping- 
places  hot  refreshments  and  other  necessaries 
could  be  purchased. 

Another  boon  was  a  series  of  hostels  for  the 
use  of  relatives  of  wounded  soldiers.  The 
V.M.C.A.  gradually  increased  the  number  of 
these  hostels  to  eight,  and  further  arranged 
to  meet  the  soldiers'  friends  at  the  boat's  side 
and  motor  them  direct  to  the  hospital  where 


A    REST    HUT    IN    THE    LITTLE    THEATRE,     ADELPHI. 
In  the  reading  and  writing  room. 


THE    TIMES    HISTORY    OF    THE    WAR 


187 


HUTS     IN    LONDON. 

A  building  in  Euston  Square  erected  for  soldiers. 
Sleeping  accommodation  was  also  provided  for 
twenty-three  men.  Circle  picture  :  In  a  rest  hut 
in  the  Little  Theatre,  Adelphi.  Bottom  picture  : 
The  Dormitory  at  the  Earl  Roberts  Rest  Home, 
King's  Cross. 

their  husbands,  brothers,  or  other  relatives 
were  to  be  found.  This  assistance  was  provided 
without  a  penny  of  charge  to  friends  of  non- 
commissioned officers  and  men.  A  beautiful 
villa  was  rented  for  the  use  of  officers'  relatives, 
where  similar  accommodation  was  provided  at 
moderate  charges  in  order  to  cover  the  cost. 

In  various  impromptu  directions  the  Y.M.C.A. 
rendered  acts  of  kindness  to  the  wounded. 
The  service  shown  to  the  Australians  at  a 
clearing  station  after  one  of  the  "  pushes  " 
supplied  an  illustration  of  the  help  that  the 
Y.M.C.A.  was  only  too  eager  to  offer  : 

When  we  arrived  the  sight  which  presented  itself  to 
us  beggars  description  [ivrote  a  Y.M.C.A.  secretary  1. 
Hundreds  of  men  were  lying  about  everywhere  with 
head,  leg,  and  arm  wounds,  all  of  which  had  been 
attended  to  by  the  medical  staff,  the  work  of  which  is 
beyond  all  praise.  The  men  were  now  waiting  the 
arrival  of  the  train  which  was  to  convey  them  to  a 
hospital  outside  the  range  of  guns.  They  were  a  cheerful 
crowd,  though  bearing  the  unmistakable  marks  of  battle, 
and  m-iny  of  thsm  carried  trophies  captured  in  the 
fight.  .  .  .  The  men  soon  recognized  and  welcomod 
the  Y.M.C.A,,  and  we  were  immediately  invited  to 
write  postcards  and  fill  in  field  cards  acquainting  the 
people  at  horn^  of  the  wounds  of  which  all  of  them 
were  proud.  One  of  the  Australian  secretaries  hastened 
to  the  Tynemouth  hut  for  cigarettes,  as  there  was  a  sad 
lack  of  smokes  and  money  in  this  company  of  wounded, 
heroes.  .  .  .   When  the  train  arrived  our  work  was  by 


188 


THE    TIMES    HISTORY    OF    THE    WAR. 


no  means  finished  ;  men  with  leg  wounds  gladly  availed 
themselves  of  the  Y.M.C.A.  man's  shoulder  in  treading 
the  painful  path  to  a  carriage  door.  Postcards  had  to 
be  written  even  here  on  the  footboards  of  the  train 
and  many  times  a  comrade  was  heard  to  remark  to  some 
poor  fellow  who  was  struggling  with  a  borrowed  pencil 
and  field  card,  "  Oh,  there  is  a  Y.M.C.A.  man  there, 
he'll  do  it  for  you." 

Both  the  British  and  the  French  authorities 
gave  all  possible  assistance.  The  former  facili- 
tated transport  and  the  latter  removed  hin- 
drances harassing  the  workers.  A  French 
admiral  in  charge  of  a  port  gave  instructions 
that  the  Y.M.C.A.  was  to  be  afforded  every  help 
and  not  to  be  delayed  by  restrictions,  even 
though  generally  necessary.  French  sentries 
on  the  roads  outside  towns  became  so  accus- 
tomed to  the  red  triangle  on  cars  that  they 
rarely  demanded  the  production  of  cards  of 
authorization.  Those  high  in  authority  in 
France  watched  the  enterprise  with  much 
interest  and  commenced  in  an  experimental 
manner  something  similar  for  their  troops.  It 
should  be  remembered  that  the  French 
Y.M.C.A.  carried  on  a  small  but  excellent  work 
for  the  French  troops  in  the  Vosges. 

When  the  King  was  in  France  he  inspected 
the  Y.M.C.A.  huts  and  expressed  his 
great  pleasure  concerning  its  arrangements. 
In  a  more  formal  but  equally  expressive  manner 
he  sent  the  following  message  to  Lord  Kinnaird 
on  May  26,  1916  : — "  His  Majesty  congratulates 
the  Association  on  the  successful  results  of  its 
war  work,  which  has  done  everything  conducive 
to  the  comfort  and  well-being  of  the  armies, 
supplying  the  special  and  peculiar  needs  of  men 
drawn  from  countries  so  different  and  so  distant. 
It  has  worked  in  a  practical,  economical  and 
unostentatious  manner,  with  consummate  know- 
ledge of  those  with  whom  it  has  to  deal.  At 
the  same  time  the  Association,  by  its  spirit  of 
discipline,  has  earned  the  respect  and  approba- 
tion of  the  Military  Authorities." 

If  space  permitted  a  story  full  of  daring  and 
adventure  could  be  told  of  the  Y.M  C.A.  work 
on  the  shell -strewn  shores  of  Gallipoli,  of  its 
less  exciting  but  equally  useful  services  in 
Malta,  and  of  its  much-needed  help  in  Mesopo- 
tamia and  East  Africa. 

As  people  realized  during  the  first  year  of  war 
that  men  on  furlough  arrived  home  in  the  early 
morning  at  Victoria  laden  with  their  com- 
plete kit,  and  with  nowhere  to  go  before  the 
trains  some  six  to  eight  hours  later  conveyed 
them  to  their  destination,  an  immediate  demand 
arose  for  more  satisfactory  arrangements.  In 
the  majority  of  cases  these  soldiers  lay  about 


the  station  precincts  or  tramped  right  across 
to  the  northern  stations,  there  to  wait  until  the 
morning.     The   Y.M.C.A.   organized  a  staff  of 
workers  who   met  the  leave  trains  at  Victoria 
and  conducted  the  men  to  a  disused  brewery  in 
Westminster,  where  they  could  secure  bed  and 
refreshments  at  moderate  charges.     The  build- 
ing did  not  provide  luxurious  fittings  amidst  its 
cavernous  depths,  but  served  its  purpose.     The 
King  permitted  the  use  of  the  Royal  Mews  at 
Buckingham  Palace  for  the  entertainment  of  the 
men.      Refreshments  were   supplied  from   the 
Palace  kitchen  on  arrival,  and  in  the  morning, 
after  a  substantial  breakfast,  the  royal  carriages 
conveyed  them  to  the  various  railway  stations. 
The    King's    practical    sympathy    encouraged 
various  developments.     The  beginnings  of  this 
service  in  the  Metropolis  developed  into  a  net- 
work   of   agencies,  coordinated  in  a  wise  and 
statesmanlike  manner,  in  order  to  cater  for  the 
wants   of   the   incoming   and    outgoing   soldier. 
The    railway    stations    became    the    strategic 
points.     Not  only  did  the  soldier  depart  from 
London,  but  he  arrived  there  at  all  hours  of  the 
day  and  night  on  his  way  back  to  France  or  the 
home  camps,  and  frequently  had  long  and  weari- 
some intervals  between  his  journeys.     To  pro- 
vide shelter  for  the  thousands  of  men — sailors 
as  well  as  soldiers — using  the  route  to  the  north, 
or  vice  versa,  the  first  station  hut  was  erected 
at  Euston  on  ground  placed  at  the  disposal  of 
the  Y.M.C.A.  by  the  directors  of  the  London 
and   North-Western   Railway.     This   provided 
sleeping   accommodation    at   moderate   prices, 
so  that  for  sixpence  a  man  could  obtain  a  bed 
with  clean  sheets  and  everything  comfortable. 
If  all  the  beds  were  engaged,  he  could  secure 
blankets  and  a  shakedown  on  the  floor  for  two- 
pence.    In  the  morning  he  purchased  his  food 
on  an  equally  economical  basis,  and  the  advan- 
tages of  the  club,  including  books,  papers  and 
writing  materials,  were  open   to  him  without 
charge,  while  for  a  few  pence  he  could  enjoy  a 
game     of     billiards.     Very     often    the    police 
brought  in  men  the  worse  for  drink  who  were  a 
danger  to  themselves  and  who  invited  punish- 
ment.    By    tactful     handling     the     Y.M.C.A. 
secretary  got  them  to  bed,  and  in  the  morning 
they  were  sober  once  again  and  ashamed  of  the 
trouble    they   had    occasioned.     Such    services 
explained  in  part  the  popularity  of  the  Y.M.C.A. 
amongst  the  men. 

Similar  huts  were  in  due  course  established 
at  King's  Cross,  Victoria,  Waterloo,  and  Pad- 
dington.     As  these  buildings  increased  in  num- 


An  entertainment  in  a  Welsh  camp.     Smaller  picture:    At  a  concert  in  London. 
THE    Y.M.C.A.    ENTERTAINING    TROOPS    AT    HOME    AND    ABROAD. 

189 


190 


THE    TIMES    HISTORY    OF    THE    WAR. 


bers,  various  improvements  and  additions  were 
made,  such,  for  instance,  as  the  provision  of  hot 
baths.  This  boon  proved  welcome  to  the  soldier 
from  France  who  had  been  subject  to  insect  - 
infested  billets.  Another  addition  of  a  prac- 
tical character  was  the  annexe  erected  at  Water- 
loo for  the  use  of  soldiers'  wives.,  who  frequently 
came  to  meet  their  husbands  or  to  witness  their 
departure. 

At  Victoria,  in  addition  to  a  large  hut  for  non- 
commissioned officers  and  men,  a  hostel  was 
erected  in  Grosvenor  Gardens,  only  a  few 
yards  distant  from  the  railway  station,  for  the 
use  of  commissioned  officers.  Its  control  was 
undertaken  by  the  Y.M.C.A.,  but  its  erection 
and  equipment  owed  everything  to  the  generous 
cooperation  of  Mrs.  Charles  Tufton  and  her 
friends.  This  building  was  a  comfortable  club, 
where  young  officers  could  secure  bed  and 
breakfast  and  other  meals.  It  was  opened  by 
Queen  Alexandra. 

Linked  up  with  the  station  huts  the  Y.M.C.A, 
presently    established    still    more    commodious 


PASTIMES    IN    THE     HUTS. 

Lady  Askwith   watching   a  billiard  match  at  a  hut 

in  Horseferry  Road,  Westminster. 

Circle  picture  :   A  game  at  draughts. 

buildings  with  a  greater  claim  to  architectural 
litness  in  the  inner  cn-cle  of  the  Metropolis.  At 
Aldwych,  abutting  on  the  Strand,  an  exception- 
ally bright  and  convenient  structure  was  erected 
at  a  cost  of  between  £7,000  and  £8,000.  This 
was  designed  primarily  for  the  requirements  of 
overseas  troops,  but  was  open  to  men  of  other 
units. 

A  later  enterprise  was  the  Shakespeare  Hut 
at  the  rear  of  the  British  Museum,  which  owed 
its  inspiration  to  the  Shakespeare  Memorial 
Committee  and  the  Tercentenary  Committee. 
Naturally  it  was  impossible  to  devote  any  por- 
tion of  the  Shakespeare  Memorial  Fund  to  the 
building  or  equipment,  but  £1,000  was  collected 
for  the  purpose  from  the  Dean  and  Chapter  of 
Westminster,  the  Temple  Church,  University 
College  and  Bedford  College  for  Women.  To- 
wards the  £7,000  or  £8,000  required  £2.000  was 
also  received  from  the  New  Zealand  Y.M.C.A.,. 
and  substantial  subscriptions  came  from 
the  boroughs  of  Westminster,  Kensington  and 
Marylebone.  The  Shakespeare  Hut  was  ad- 
mirably designed  with  canteen,  billiard  room, 
quiet  room,  verandah  and  sleeping  and  bath 
room  accommodation.  It  was  probably  the  best 
of  its  kind,  and  the  fittings  and  colouring  were 
planned  in  memory  of  the  groat  dramatist  who, 
as  already  indicated,  did  not  receive  honour 
from  some  of  the  members  of  the  Y.M.C.A.  in 
its  early  days. 


THE    TIMES    HISTORY    OF    THE     WAR. 


The    Y.M.C.A.    also   transformed   the   Little 
Theatre   in   John   Street,   Adelphi,   generously 
placed    at   its    disposal   by   the    landlord,    Mr. 
Coutts,  into  a  more  or  less  similar  rendezvous. 
Its  size  and  proximity  to  Charing  Cross  enabled 
large  numbers  of  men  to  enjoy  the  advantages. 
Another  development  deserves  mention  here 
because  of  its  effect  upon  the  internal  organiza- 
tion   of     the    Y.M.C.A.    and     the    coordinated 
facilities  for  entertaining  the  soldier  in  London. 
Practically   speaking,    from   the    start    of    the 
Y.M.C.A.  movement  the  Central  Y.M.C.A.  pro- 
vided the  metropolitan  headquarters.     Origin- 
ally this  central  branch  possessed  Exeter  Hall, 
and  whilst  using  a  portion  of  the  building  for 
club   purposes   let   the   halls   for   religious   and 
philanthropic  gatherings.     After  the  death  of 
Sir  George  Williams  a  new  and  more  convenient 
building  was  proposed  as  his  fitting  memorial. 
Exeter  Hall  was  sold,  and  at  a  cost  of  £100,000 
an  island  site  was  purchased  in  Tottenham  Court 
Road  and  a  new  Institute  was  erected.     This 
provided  the  features  of  a  young  men's  club — 
including   lounge,    swimming    baths,    shooting 
gallery,  gymnasium — besides  being  thoroughly 
equipped  as  an  educational  and  religious  centre 
for  men.      Its  management  was  undertaken  by 
Mr.  J.  J.  Virgo,  who  was  specially  invited  to 
accept   the   post   of   secretary   because   of   his 
Australian  experiences.     The  Central  Y.M.C.A. 
was    entirely    responsible   for  its   erection  and 
management  and  the  National  Council  did  not 
share    either    liability    or    control.     The    latter 
body    had    its    own    headquarters    in    Russell 
Square    in    a    house    (called    the    Sir    George 
Williams'    House)    presented    to    it    by     the 
family  of  Sir  George  Williams.     When  a  large 
addition  to  the  clerical  staff    proved  necessary 
the  adjoining  house   was  secured   and   in  this 
enlarged  building  the  National  Council  pursued 
its  work  until  the  autumn  of  1915      Just  before 
this  period  the  two  organizations  had  conducted 
their  operations  in  separate  channels,  but  the 
exigencies  of  the  war  suggested  cooperation,  and 
the  respective  officers  and  committee  considered 
and  approved  fresh  arrangements  for  wiser  and 
ampler    provision    on    behalf    of    the    soldiers 
Under  this  scheme  the  Central  Y.M.C.A   trans- 
ferred the  Tottenham  Court  Road  centre  to  the 
National  Council.     This  arrangement  not  only 
coordinated    oxisting     agencies     but    provided 
adequate    accommodation     for    the    National 
Council  staff  and  enabled  this  handsome  and 
commodious  building  to   be  utilized   day  and 
ni<*'ab      for      the      war      work.       From      this 


period  Mr.  Virgo  becama  Field  Secretary  to  the 
National  Council  and  later  started  on  a  world 
tour  for  the  advancement  of  Y.M.C.A.  interests. 
With  Tottenham  Court  Road,  its  station  huts, 
and  other  metropolitan  centres,  the  Y.M.C.A. 
accommodated  on  an  average  7,500  men  every 
week  in  its  cubicles.  The  whole  of  these  huts 
and  buildings  were  connected  by  the  military 
authorities  at  their  request  with  the  telephone, 
so  that  pressure  at  one  place  could  frequently  be 
relieved  by  vacant  beds  at  others — each  and  all 
bearing  the  description  of  "  ever-open  "  huts. 
With  the  assistance  of  scouting  parties  supplied 
with  motors  the  streets  were  scoured  for 
soldiers  stranded  late  at  night. 

From  the  headquarters  flowed  a  perennial 
stream  of  new  ideas  and  activities.  En- 
quirers from  all  parts  of  the  world  desired 
particulars  of  husband,  son,  brother  or  friend 
who  had  been  missing  in  such  and  such 
engagement.  Usually  it  was  the  story  of 
an  officer,  non-commissioned  man,  or  private 
who  was  last  seen  in  attack  and  no  record 
could  be  obtained  concerning  his  whereabouts. 
Through  the  good  offices  of  the  American 
Y.M.C.A.  in  Germany,  to  whom  the  official  list 
of  British  prisoners  in  Germany  was  available, 
immediate  steps  were  taken  to  get  in  touch  with 
the  facts.  Again  there  were  difficulties  with  the 
prisoners'  letters,  and  in  many  cases  it  was 
possible  to  secure  an  avoidance  of  delay.  On 
other  occasions  the  Y.M.C.A.  obtained  news 
respecting  men  who  through  various  reasons 
had  not  communicated  with  their  friends.  An 
oft-repeated  request  was  for  a  photograph  of  the 
grave  where  loved  ones  lay  buried 

Disabled  soldiers  turned  to  the  Y.M.C.A,  after 
their  discharge  from  the  Army  for  assistance  in 
securing  suitable  employment.  These  inquiries 
suggested  an  Employment  Bureau,  and  through 
its  agency  hundreds  of  men  were  brought  into 
touch  with  employers  and  saved  from  the  neces- 
sity of  tramping  about  in  search  of  work. 

A  novel  method  of  bridging  over  the 
period  of  separation  between  soldiers  and 
their  friends  was  initiated  by  the  Y.M.C.A. 
through  its  Snapshots  League.  With  simple 
but  efficient  machinery  1 1,000  amateur  photo- 
graphers were  enrolled  who  secured  500,000 
snapshots  illustrative  of  the  sailor's  or  soldier's 
family  and  friends.  This  work  was  performod 
without  charge.  Men  of  H.M.  Forces  were  sup- 
plied with  forms  upon  which  they  stated  that 
they  desired  photos  of  their  wife,  parents  or 
sweetheart  living  in  the  place  specified.     These 


192 


THE    TIMES    H1ST0BY    OF    THE     WAR. 


were  returned  to  the  Y.M.C.A.  Snapshots 
League,  Tot  tenham  Court  Road,  and  forwarded  to 
the,  nearest  voluntary  helper.  When  the  photos 
were  prepared  the  photographer  dispatched 
copies  in  special  weatherproof  envelopes  to  the 
soldier  in  France,  Salonika,  Egypt  or  elsewhere. 
The  enterprise  cost  about  £10,000,  which  was 
subscribed  privately  by  those  who  recognized 
its  value  and  significance.  It  was  also  adopted 
by  the  Y.M.C.A.  organizations  m  Australia, 
New  Zealand,  South  Africa  and  Bermuda  in 
order  to  perforin  for  their  troops  serving  under 
the  British  flag  a  similar  service  to  that  enjoyed 
by  the  home  armies.  Throughout  the  Com- 
monwealth the  necessary  forms  of  application 
could  be  obtained  in  the  Post  Offices. 

Through  the  cooperation  of  the  General 
Council  of  the  Bar  and  the  Council  of  the  Law 
Society  arrangements  were  made  for  providing 
in  the  Y.M.C.A.  huts  free  legal  advice  to  non- 
commissioned officers  and  men  in  H.M.  Forces. 
This  help  was  given  by  barristers  and  solicitors 
on  active  service  and  confined  absolutely  to 
civil  matters.  The  Y.M.C.A.  stipulated  that 
litigation  would  not  be  undertaken  either  at  its 


expense  or  with  its  help.  In  special  cases  the 
men  were  put  into  communication  with  the 
official  department  at  the  Royal  Courts  of 
Justice  established  under  special  rules  of 
Court. 

The  Navy  required  the  assistance  of  the 
Y.M.C.A.  as  much  as  the  Army,  though 
the  circumstances  of  its  work  did  not  pre- 
sent the  same  opportunities.  To  serve  the 
sailor  on  board  ship  was  not  yet  practicable, 
and  therefore  the  Red  Triangle  greeted  him 
when  he  came  ashore  on  leave.  At  places  like 
Portsmouth,  Chatham,  Harwich,  Newcastle, 
Rosyth,  Cromarty  and  Invergordon — to  name 
a  few  such  centres — the  National  Council,  in 
conjunction  with  the  Scottish  Y.M.C.A.  (of 
which  Sir  Andrew  Pettigrew  was  chairman  anrl 
Mr.  .las.  Mackenzie  secretary),  which  was 
responsible  for  the  agencies  in  the  north,  made 
provision  for  naval  men.  In  all  essential 
respects  the  naval  and  military  departments 
were  organized  on  kindred  lines.  The  appre- 
ciation ot  officers  and  men  of  all  ratings  in  the 
Navy  testified  to  the  value  of  the  work. 
Admiral    Jellicoe    and    Admiral    Beatty    gave 


A    "CABBAGE    PATCH"    IN    LONDON 
Turned    to    good   account  :  A   hut  erected  on  an  old  building  site  in   Kensington. 


THE    TIMES    HISTORY    OF    THE    WAR. 


193 


every    possible    facility    and     supported     the 
undertakings  both  privately  and  in  public. 

During  the  early  days  of  September,  1914, 
the  Y.M.C.A.  commenced  operations  at  the 
Crystal  Palace  for  the  benefit  of  lads  training 
for  the  Royal  Naval  Division.  At  certain 
periods  nine  to  ten  thousand  were  at  the  Crystal 
Palace,  before  being  drafted  to  other  spheres  of 
action.  They  were  enlisted  from  the  North  of 
England,  from  Wales  and  the  Midlands  and 
from  many  quiet  villages,  east  and  west,  as  well 
as  north  and  south.  The  opportunities  for 
service  in  this  H.M.S.  Crystal  Palace,  as  it  was 
styled,  were  therefore  considerable.  For  its 
accommodation  the  authorities  granted  the  use 
of  a  large  amount  of  floor  space,  including  the 
Egyptian,  Grecian  and  Roman  Courts  in  the 
centre  transept,  and  later  placed  at  the  disposal 
of  the  Y.M.C.A.  the  Morocco  and  Alhambra 
Courts,  as  well  as  the  North  Tower  Gardens  and 
theatre.  The  services  were  varied  and  in- 
teresting and  included  quite  unconventional 
agencies.  Owing  to  necessity  the  organization 
acted  as  washerwoman  to  thousands  of  these 
naval  men  in  training.  The  laundry  business 
developed  into  a  great  concern  and  necessitated 
a  large  staff  and  a  careful  methodical  system 
in  order  to  avoid  confusion  and  delay,  Dut  its 


sole  genesis  was  the  comfort  and  convenience 
of  the  men. 

In  ordinary  course  the  naval  postman 
delivered  the  various  mails  as  these  arrived  at 
the  Palace,  but  in  such  a  huge  building  the  men 
could  not  be  easily  found,  especially  when  on 
duty,  and  letters  were  frequently  delayed  in 
consequence.  Times  of  great  pressure  prevented 
the  naval  authorities  from  employing  a  special 
staff  to  deal  with  "  dead  "  letters  or  parcels. 
To  the  men,  however,  these  communications 
from  their  friends  were  all-important,  and  much 
relief  was  experienced  when,  at  the  request  of 


'J -I 


THE    TIMES    HISTORY    OF    THE    WAK. 


INSIDE  THE   EUSTON   HUT. 


the  officers,  the  Y.M.C.A.  undertook  an 
important  share  of  the  postal  service.  During 
twelvemonths  the  Y.M.C.A.  dealt  with  1,000,000 
letters  and  parcels  ;  the  sale  of  stamps  in 
that  period  was  valued  at  £3,000  and  postal 
orders  were  purchased  by  the  men  to  the  amount 
of  £9.000.  The  Savings  Bank  possessed,  on  an 
average,  between  two  and  three  thousand 
depositors  with  a  substantial  amount  standing 
to  their  credit. 

By  request  also  of  the  officers  the  Y.M.C.A. 
published  a  little  book  at  the  price  of  one  penny 
enabling  particulars  to  be  recorded  concerning 
the  man's  pay,  the  amount  he  had  received  and, 
where  necessary,  the  amount  due  to  the  Divi- 
sion. It  was  of  a  size  made  for  his  cap — the  best 
of  pockets  for  a  sailor.  Concerts  and  lectures 
were  regularly  organized  in  the  theatre,  and  on 
certain  evenings,  as  well  as  on  Sundays,  services 
arranged  of  a  definitely  religious  character. 
Help  of  a  more  personal  nature  was  rendered  on 
behalf  of  wives  and  mothers,  who  unfailingly 
turned  to  the  Y.M.C.A.  in  times  of  necessity. 
Two  or  three  workers  attended  specially  to 
such  cases.  Parental  anxieties  were  relieved, 
and  when  the  wives  of  married  men  did  not 
receive  regular  letters,  a  tactful  word  frequently 
pulled  them  up  to  the  scratch.  Thousands  of 
men  signed  temperance  and  purity  j]ledges,  and 
every  effort  was  made  by  the  Y.M.C.A.  to  assist 
the  men  of  the  R.N.D.  to  keep  sober  and  healthy 
for  the  campaign  on  which  they  would  enter 
when  the  period  of  training  was  completed. 


The  Scottish  National  Council  of  Y.M.C.A. 's, 
whose  executive  worked  in  conjunction  with 
Tottenham  Court  Road,  devoted  considerable 
care  and  thought  to  the  sailors  in  the  northern 
part,  of  the  kingdom,  and  established  naval 
centres  at  Rosyth,  Invergordon,  Cromarty, 
and  elsewhere.  The  places  at  which  sailors 
put  in  for  a  few  hours  were  but  ill  provided 
with  reasonable  means  of  recreation  or  enter- 
tainment, and  were  not  designed  for  a  crowd 
of  men  anxious  to  make  amends  for  a  fairly 
long  spell  at  sea. 

The  presence  of  the  Fleet  off  the  coasts  of 
Scotland  changed  the  social  conditions  of  many 
northern  towns.  Little  Highland  burghs  were 
caught  up  in  the  machinery  of  war,  and  accom- 
modated themselves  and  their  institutions  to 
thousands  of  men  passing  to  and  from  the  ships, 
and  to  the  large  staff  of  artificers  engaged  on 
repairs  and  refittings.  At  one  small  town,  when 
the  trams  were  usually  late  on  the  journey  up, 
hundreds  failed  to  reach  their  ships,  and  had 
to  wait  until  the  morning.  These  situations 
provoked  the  despair  of  the  provost  and  leading 
townsmen.  Every  public  building  sheltered 
the  men,  and  on  occasions  even  the  small  lock- 
up with  its  one  or  two  cells  was  utilized  for  the 
purpose  of  affording  relief  from  the  streets,  and 
as  a  protection  from  the  weather.  In  this 
emergency  the  Y.M.C.A.  came  to  the  rescue. 
Plans  were  designed  for  a  permanent  building 
and  obtained  the  approval  of  the  Admiralty, 
who  made  a  grant  for  its  immediate  erection,  as 


THE    TIMES    HISTORY    OF    THE    WAR. 


19S 


well  as  that  of  the  Admirals  on  the  Division. 
Experience  quickly  showed  that  the  institute 
was  too  small,  and  in  the  course  of  a  few  months 
a  substantial  addition  became  necessary.  Like 
the  Y.M.C.A.  station  huts  in  the  metropolis, 
which  were  equally  open  to  the  sailor,  it 
provided  rest,  refreshment  and  recreation,  and 
gave  much  satisfaction  to  the  sailors. 

When  the  cry  went  up  for  shells  and  big 
guns  and  labour  became  mobilized  in  a  way 
never  before  witnessed  in  England,  occasion 
arose  for  meeting  the  bed  and  breakfast  require- 
ments of  battalions  of  men  posted  to  districts 
already  crowded  with  workers.  Even  where 
the  question  of  lodgings  presented  few  diffi- 
culties, the  midday  meal  for  thousands  of  men 
had  to  be  met  adequately  by  outside  agencies 
so  that  localities  concerned  could  be  relieved 
of  the  impossible  strain.  From  the  circum- 
stances of  its  foundation  the  Y.M.C.A.  had 
not  received  the  support  of  Trade  Union 
members  to  any  considerable  extent.  Until 
the  war  its  operations  wre  assigned  principally 
to  the  shop  assistants,  clerks,  buyers  and 
managers  of  retail  and  wholesale  houses.  It 
possessed  a  sprinkling  of  professional  men, 
but  the  working  classes  were  uninfluenced. 
Some  of  the  Y.M.C.A.  leaders  sought  the  co- 
operation of  the  industrial  workers,  but  they 
held  aloof  and  the  gulf  seemed  wide  and  insur- 
mountable. Temperament  and  outlook  prob- 
ably accounted  for  this  division  of  interest,  which 
grew  deeper  and  wider  as  the  years  advanced. 


When  the  abnormal  situation  created  by 
the  enlargement  of  munition  factories  became 
acute  in  various  parts  of  the  country  the 
Y.M.C.A.  had  already  made  good  on  its  war 
work.  To  the  Y.M.C.A.,  therefore,  people 
turned  for  help  on  behalf  of  the  munition 
workers,  and  the  Red  Triangle  responded  eagerly 
and  willingly.  As  a  rapprochement  had  been 
established  with  soldiers  and  sailors,  the 
Y.M.C.A.  leaders  gladly  embraced  the  oppor- 
tunity of  another  and  unexpected  extension  of 
their  activities.  The  Munition  Workers'  Auxi- 
liary Committee  was  established  by  Mr.  A.  K. 
Yapp,  the  General  Secretary,  and  Princess 
Victoria  of  Schleswig-Holstein  accepted  the 
office  of  president,  attending  the  committee 
meetings  with  almost  invariable  regularity, 
and  showing  the  keenest  interest  in  the  various 
undertakings.  Lord  Derby,  who  had  recognized 
the  necessity  for  special  voluntary  efforts  in 
order  to  deal  with  the  problem,  became  chair- 
man of  the  committee.  Mr.  R.  H.  Swainson 
was  organ  zer.  Some  of  the  committee  became 
responsible  for  the  operations  organized  in 
important  areas.  Lady  Henry  Grosvenor,  for 
instance,  had  charge  of  the  Y.M.C.A.  services 
for  munition  workers  at  Woolwich,  Cra.yford, 
and  the  adjoining  district1-  ;  Mrs.  Winston 
Churchill  superintended  the  agencies  at  Enfield 
Lock  and  Waltham  Cross  ;  Countess  Fitz- 
william  supervised  the  arrangements  at  Shef- 
field ;  Lady  Hugh  Grosvenor  was  responsible 
for  work  in  Cheshire  ;  Mrs.  Williams  (of  Miskin) 


MIDNIGHT   AT   THE   WATERLOO   HUT. 


196 


THE    TIMES    HISTORY    OF    THE    WAR. 


performed  a  similar  duty  in  connexion  with  the 
munition  centres  in  South  Wales  ;  and  the 
Scottish  National  Council  undertook  the  ar- 
rangements in  Scotland. 

Everything  had  to  be  evolved  and  co- 
ordinated as  the  circumstances  demanded. 
The  lady  superintendents  were  responsible  for 
securing  lady  workers  and  for  equipping  their 
district  centres,  even  to  kitchen  utensils, 
cutlery,  crockery,  and  the  details  incidental  to 
supplying  heavy  meals  and  sleeping  accommo- 
dation. Within  a  short  time  they  organized 
3,000  ladies  who  did  not  receive  a  penny 
in  salary,  and  where  they  lived  at  the 
hostel  paid  for  their  mm  board  and  lodging. 
These  voluntary  helpers  performed  a  variety 
of  work,  necessitating  in  many  instances  night 
shifts  or  early  morning  duties.  To  their  tact, 
womanly  qualities,  and  arduous  work  were 
due  the  attractiveness,  cleanliness  and  good 
management  of  the  establishments  in  munition 
centres. 

At  Woolwich,  owing  to  the  large  influx  of 
workers,  the  question  of  supplying  meals 
became  urgent.  During  the  dinner  hour  every 
public  house  and  refreshment  shop  was  crowded , 
and  men  often  waited  in  long  queues  to  be 
served.  The  Y.M.C.A.  did  not  desire  to  com- 
pete with  legitimate  trading  concerns  when 
these  met  the  need,  but  an  impossible  situation 
was  created,  and  men  and  women  who  worked 
long  hours  in  munition  factories  could  not 
secure  nourishing  food  at  moderate  prices 
served  with  some  degree  of  comfort.  The 
supply  of  guns  and  shells  suffered  as  well  as  the 
workpeople,  and  employers  and  employees 
equally  rejoiced  when  the  Y.M.C.A.  organized 
a  great  undertaking.  When  in  full  work- 
ing order  Lady  Henry  Grosvenor  organized 
20,000  meals  every  day,  the  majority  of 
which  consisted  of  the  heavy  midday  order. 
For  the  highly  paid  operative  the  popular 
demand  was  a  shilling  three-course  dinner,  of 
excellent  quality.  An  orchestra  was  provided 
and  the  diners  enjoyed  their  meal  whilst 
listening  to  a  capital  musical  programme. 
Later  it  became,  necessary  to  meet  the  require- 
ments of  those  who  preferred  something  less 
expensive  on  the  a  la  carte  basis.  The  men 
who  went  on  night  shifts  also  found  their 
wants  studied,  and  in  order  to  serve  them  a 
staff  of  ladies  worked  through  the  night. 
Inspection  of  the  Woolwich  centre  satisfied  the 
conditions  of  cleanliness,  quality  of  food,  and 
the  attractiveness  of  the  general  surroundings. 


In  the  London  Dock  centres,  where  Lady 
Askwith  was  in  charge,  the  labourers  appre- 
ciated a  sevenpenny  dinner  of  hot  meat  and 
potatoes  supplied  in  liberal  quantities.  They 
were  accustomed  to  large  portions  and  did 
not  require  sweets  or  coffee.  But  for  the 
Y.M.C.A.  Hut  they  would  perforce  have  had 
to  make  shift  with  the  helping  of  cold  meat 
and  bread  carried  with  them  from  home  in  the 
typical  red  handkerchief. 

Similar  provision  was  made  in  the  provinces 
for  the  labourer  or  artisan  on  war  work.  Thus 
at  Liverpool,  where  the  need  existed  for  can- 
teens on  the  dock  premises,  the  Dock  Board  and 
Shipowners'  Association  formed  a  company  with 
a  capital  of  £10, 000  for  the  erection  of  huts,  which 
were  handed  over  to  the  Y.M.C.A.  Originally 
the  Dock  Board  subscribed  £5,000,  but  when 
the  first  two  or  three  buildings  proved  successful 
the  Board  immediately  doubled  the  capital. 
Absolute  necessity  demanded  these  places  of 
rest  and  refreshment  for  the  dock  labourer. 
Some  of  the  eating  houses  previously  fre- 
quented by  the  men  were  extremely  dirty,  and 
they  had  to  be  content  with  indifferent 
food  and  unpleasant  conditions.  (n  the  huts 
by  the  Liverpool  Dock  side  the  equipment  was 
clean  and  the  sevenpenny  dinners  well  cooked 
and  of  the  best  quality.  The  result  must  in  the 
majority  of  instances  be  credited  to  the  lady 
workers  who  volunteered  from  some  of  the  best 
middle-class  families  in  the  city  of  Liverpool, 
and  took  a  regular  share  of  the  duty,  some 
giving  one  or  two  days  every  week  while  others 
attended  during  the  whole  of  the  six  days.  The 
test  of  the  pudding  is  in  the  eating.  These 
ladies  when  the  dinners  were  served  were  con- 
tent to  purchase  a  cut  off  the  joint  from 
which  the  customers  had  been  supplied  or  a 
helping  from  the  same  make  of  puddings. 
Those  competent  to  judge  of  the  effect  of  the 
arrangements  stated  that  the  men  performed 
their  heavy  work  under  improved  health  con- 
ditions, while  its  volume  was  greater  and  there 
was  less  heavy  drinking  or  striking.  The  opinion 
of  the  Liverpool  Dock  Board  and  Shipowners' 
Association  may  be  gathered  by  the  readiness 
with  which  the  capital  was  doubled. 

At  Sheffield,  Newcastle  and  elsewhere  the 
committees  under  lady  presidents  met  the 
needs  of  the  workers  according  to  local  con- 
ditions. Cast-iron  plans  were  avoided  and  the 
locality  allowed  to  determine  the  best  way  of 
meeting  the  emergency.  At  Newcastle,  for 
instance,  with    the  cooperation  of   the  firm  of 


THE    TIMES    HISTORY    OF    THE    WAR. 


197 


THE   SHAKESPEARE   HUT    IN  GOWER 
STREET,  LONDON. 

Opened  by  Princess  Victoria  of  Schleswig-Holstein 
(in  smaller  picture)  August   11,   1916. 

Sir  Wm.  Armstrong,  Whit  worth  &  Co.,  the 
Y.M.C.A.  served  midday  meals  in  a  building  in 
close  proximity  to  the  firm's  works.  Special 
pro  vision  was  established  for  the  women,  who 
came  at  12  o'clock  and  retired  from  the 
building  in  time  to  permit  of  the  male  workers 
obtaining  their  meal.  One  general  rule  ob- 
tained in  all  thess  Y.M.C.A.  dining  rooms — 
cleanliness,  quality  of  food  and  reasonable 
prices. 

A  more  ambitious  scheme  included  hostels 
for  the  workers  where  they  could  not  only 
obtain  meals  but  sleeping  accommodation 
and  the  usual  recreative  and  other  attrac- 
tions. Owing  to  the  abnormal  conditions 
lodgings  were  difficult  if  not  impossible  to 
obtain  by  the  man  suddenly  dumped  down  in 
a  district  many  miles  from  his  home  ties. 
Where  obtainable  the  bedroom  often  proved 
unsatisfactory  owing  to  the  crowded  state  of  the 
dwelling.  Scores  of  cases  occurred  of  landladies 
letting  the  bedroom  in  turn  throughout  the 
whole  24  hours.  Men  had  either  to  endure  such 
places  or  seek  quarters  several  miles  distant 
from  the  factory.     The  latter  course  involved 


tiresome  journeys  after  long  hours  and  an 
absence  of  comfort  or  home  life  during  the  meal- 
times. To  meet  an  unquestioned  need  the 
Y.M.C.A.  initiated  an  experimental  scheme  at 
Enfield  by  which  the  workers  could  live  under 
healthier  and  pleasanter  conditions.  This 
developed  in  many  other  districts.  At  Enfield 
it  provided  for  the  erection  of  wooden  huts  with- 
in easy  distance  of  the  factories  as  sleeping 
quarters,  so  that  the  worker  could  secure  a 
small  but  clean  and  convenient  cubicle  to  his 
own   use.     He   had    a   comfortable   bed,   clean 


HIS 


THE    TIMES    HISTORY    OF    THE    WAR. 


sheets,  a  box  for  his  clothes,  the  vise  of  baths  and 
other  necessaries.  In  close  proximity  to  the 
cubicles  a  common  hall  was  erected  for  meals, 
recreations  and  letter  writing.  The  food  was 
well  cooked  and  served  by  lady  helpers  on 
dainty-looking  tables  always  bright  with  freshly 
cut  flowers.  For  an  inclusive  sum  (averaging 
usually  about  20s.)  per  week  the  munition 
worker  secured  full  board,  lodging  and  washing. 
Moreover,  he  enjoyed  many  club  facilities 
impossible  in  the  ordinary  private  lodgings. 
Without  leaving  the  common  hall  he  could  play 
billiards,  listen  to  the  concert  or  write  his 
letters. 

Employers  recognized  the  advantages  offered 
by  the  hostel  and  in  many  instances  contributed 
liberally  to  its  equipment.  According  to  the 
conditions  for  the  assessment  of  war  profits  the 
Exchequer  sanctioned  the  payment  of  a  certain 
proportion  to  schemes  for  the  betterment  of 
their  employees.  Advantage  was  taken  of  this 
arrangement,  for  instance,  by  Messrs.  Stewart 
&  Lloyd,  of  Glasgow,  who  financed  the  whole 
requirements  of  a  hostel  for  their  workers 
situated  close  to  their  factory. 

Lady  Hugh  Grosvenor  undertook  the  charge 
of  a  small  garden  city  in  Cheshire  which 
developed  through  the  generosity  of  Messrs. 
Hrunner,  Mond  &  Co.,  who  were  engaged  on  war 
work.  In  order  to  meet  the  needs  of  their 
employees,  many  of  whom  had  been  brought 
from  the  front,  provision  was  made  for  500 
cubicles  erected  in  blocks  and  fitted  with 
baths  and  washhouses.  The  club  accommo- 
dation for  meals,  games,  lectures  and  con- 
certs was  excellent,  whilst  the  kitchen  equip- 
ment was  equal  to  that  of  a  first-class  restaurant. 
Lady  Hugh  Grosvenor  and  her  staff  of  lady 
workers  made  an  innovation  at  this  centre  by 
the  supply  of  hot  midday  meals  carried  to  the 
works  two  or  three  miles  distant  for  those  res;- 
dents  who  could  not  return  to  the  hostel  fcr 
dinner.  Those  who  visited  this  large  hostfl 
were  delighted  with  the  artistic  fittings  and  the 
bright  and  attractive  curtains  which  guarded 
the  place  from  any  susjjicion  that  it  was  a  poor- 
law  institution  or  an  ordinary  philanthropic 
home. 

The  munition  worker  received  his  money's 
worth,  plus  sympathy  and  cooperation,  and 
whilst  he  was  a  customer  he  had  a  personal 
relationship  to  the  whole  undertaking.  The 
Y.M.C.A.  did  not  attempt  to  pauperize  him,  but 
ran  the  enterprise  on  business  lines,  charging 
against  it  a  fair  interest  on  capital  expenditure. 


The  profits  were  not  devoted  to  the  general  work 
of  the  Y.M.C.A.  but  placed  to  a  fund  for  the 
betterment  of  the  institute  itself.  Moreover,  he 
was  not  badgered  with  religion.  It  was  there  all 
the  time,  and  probably  he  remained  conscious 
of  the  fact,  but  its  influences  were  pervasive 
rather  than  aggressive.  He  was  taught  to 
realize  that  Christianity  was  making  its  con- 
tribution to  the  requirements  of  the  war  by  the 
provision  of  the  hostel.  Mr.  Lloyd  George,  who 
was  then  Minister  of  Munitions,  visited  several 
of  the  Y.M.C.A.  hostels,  and  expressed  his  warm 
approval  of  the  arrangements.  By  friendly 
arrangement,  the  Young  Women's  Christian 
Association  undertook  the  provision  of  huts  and 
equipment  for  the  women  workers,  and  places 
started  by  the  Y.M.C.A.  were  later  handed  over 
to  this  organization  in  order  to  create  a  proper 
division  of  labour  between  the  two  Associations. 

The  linking  up  of  the  Mother  Country  and  the 
Overseas  Dominions  to  face  a  common  foe 
showed  the  necessity  for  fresh  efforts.  The 
first  contingent  to  reach  England  preparatory 
to  service  in  France  was  that  from  Canada. 
Thirty  thousand  strong,  it  proceeded  to 
Salisbury  Plain  for  training.  The  Canadian 
Y.M.C.A.  obtained  permission  from  the  Cana- 
dian Militia  Department  for  seven  secretaries  to 
accompany  the  Expeditionary  Force.  With  the 
idea  of  facilitating  military  discipline,  they 
received  honorary  rank  as  captain  and  wore 
officer's  uniform,  but  did  not  perform  military 
duties,  and  were  quite  free  in  carrying  on  social, 
religious  and  recreational  work  amongst  the 
Canadians.  When  the  first  division  proceeded 
to  France  in  1915  it  was  accompaned  by  five 
secretaries.  The  second  Canadian  contingent 
arrived  in  the  spring  of  the  same  year  with  six 
secretaries,  five  of  whom  crossed  to  France  when 
the  training  of  this  division  was  completed. 
Another  five  secretaries  came  over  with  the 
third  division  and  the  whole  of  these  went  to  the 
front.  Fifteen  Y.M.C.A.  secretaries  were  there- 
fore in  association  with  the  Canadian  Divisions 
in  France,  and  later  a  score  of  secretaries  arrived 
from  Canada  to  meet  the  requirements  of 
Dominion  soldiers  in  English  camps,  whilst 
retaining  fifty  Y.M.C.A.  centres  in  Canada  for 
the  troops  still  under  training. 

Opinions  varied  concerning  the  honorary 
rank  of  the  Canadian  Y.M.C.A.  secretary  and 
whether  he  could  perform  his  duty  with  greater 
success  than  the  British  Y.M.C.A.  worker  who 
remained  a  civilian.  The  rank  possessed  some 
compensations  mixed  with  disadvantages.   But, 


THE    TIMES    HISTORY    OF    THE    WAR. 


199 


■officer    or    civilian,    British   or   Canadian,   the 
Y.M.C.A.  methods  remained  much  the  same. 

Reference  should  here  be  made  to  the  con- 
nexion between  the  Canadians  and  the  Y.M.C.A. 
at  home.  When  the  first  Canadian  Division 
reached  Salisbury  Plain  the  parent  branch 
prepared  for  their  entertainment  some  of  the 
earliest  huts  used  in  this  country.  Their  letters 
for  home  were  written  in  these  buildings.  At 
night  they  gathered  round  the  piano  and  sang 
"  The  Maple  Leaf."  Faraway  from  shops,  they 
besieged  the  counter  for  necessaries,  including 
cough  mixtures  and  oil  stoves.  By  this  time  the 
Plain  was  soaked  with  the  late  autumn  rains, 
and  they  required  much  ingenuity  to  keep  the 
bell  tents  dry  and  no  little  persistence  and 
patience  to  exorcise  the  colds  and  coughs  that 
infected  almost  the  whole  division.  The 
Y.M.C.A.  hut  was  the  one  warm,  light  and 
cheery  place  in  the  whole  camp,  and  the 
Canadian  appreciated  the  contrast.  Lord 
Roberts  wrote  to  the  Y.M.C.A.  on  the  day  he 
left  England  for  France — four  days  before  he 
passed  away — as  follows  :  "  Lord  Roberts 
hears  nothing  but  praise  for  what  the  Y.M.C.A. 
is  doing  at  the  various  camps.  The  latest  tribute 
he  has  received  is  from  the  Canadian  contingent, 
who,  when  he  inspected  the  men  on  Salisbury 
Plain,  said  that  they  did  not  know  what  they 
would  have  done  without  the  facilities  afforded 
them  by  the  accommodation  provided  by  the 
Y.M.C.A."  On  behalf  of  the  13th  Battalion 
Royal  Highlanders  of  Canada  the  captain  and 
adjutant  wrote  as  follows  :  "  Allow  me  to 
express  our  appreciation  of  the  hospitality 
shown  by  the  Y.M.C.A.  to  us  as  individuals  and 
as  a  regiment.    Many  members  of  the  regiment 


have  benefitted  by  hours  spent  in  your  tents, 
and  the  accommodation  granted  us  by  you  has 
made  our  weekly  church  parade  possible." 

By  September  1,  1914,  70  to  80  transports 
were  on  their  way  from  Australia  and  at 
frequent  intervals  during  the  progress  of  the  war 
continued  to  arrive.  In  January,  1915,  these 
troops  took  part  in  the  defence  of  Egypt  and 
in  April  proceeded  to  Gallipoli,  where  with  the 
New  Zealanders  they  performed  brilliant  and 
daring  feats  which  brought  them  deathless 
renown.  Their  own  Y.M.C.A.  secretaries  were 
permitted  to  accompany  the  troopships,  and 
later  were  asked  to  go  forward  to  Gallipoli, 
where  they  experienced  similar  adventures 
and  dangers  to  those  of  the  men.  Australia 
and  New  Zealand  always  encouraged  the 
Y.M.C.A.  movement.  The  large  buildings 
erected  in  the  principal  cities  and  the  confidence 
shown  in  this  enterprise  by  the  governing  and 
commercial  classes  evidenced  that  the  Y.M.C.A. 
before  the  war  represented  something  that 
was  more  important  and  essential  to  the 
Commonwealth  than  the  Y.M.C.A.  at  home 
ap]oeared  to  the  British  people.  Even  at  the 
period  of  the  Boer  War  the  Australian  Y.M.C.A. 
secretaries  accompanied  the  troops  to  South 
Africa,  and  during  peace  times  met  the  needs 
of  the  Volunteers  in  their  annual  encampments 
much  in  the  same  manner  as  in  Great  Britain. 

The  stay  of  the  Anzacs  in  Egypt,  however, 
revealed  the  weakness  of  the  Y.M.C.A.  terri- 
torial divisions  during  a  great  emergency. 
The  Australian  and  New  Zealand  secretaries, 
in  the  absence  of  mutual  arrangements,  kept 
naturally  to  their  own  patch  until  the  situation 
was  reviewed  in  the  light  of  new  circumstances. 


THE    Y.M.C.A.    HUT   AT    ALDWYCH. 


200 


THE    TIMES    HISTORY    OF    THE    WAR. 


From  that  period  Australia  and  New  Zealand, 
the  American  Y.M.C.A.  at  Cairo,  and  the 
British  Y.M.C.A.  joined  hands  and  promoted 
a  National  Y.M.C.A.  Council  for  Egypt.  This 
fact  indicated  the  trend  of  events  and  proved 
one  of  the  strongest  arguments  for  the  inter- 
dependence and  cooperation  of  the  whole 
Empire  Y.M.C.A.  movement.  When  in  the 
beginning  of  1916  the  Anzacs  were  fighting 
on  the  Western  Front  they  enjoyed  the  hos- 
pitality of  the  British  Y.M.C.A.,  who  by  that 
time  were  pushing  their  huts  and  marquees 
nearer  to  the  firing  line.  Later  on  thousands 
came  over  for  training  in  the  home  camps,  and 
at  places  like  Salisbury  Plain  found  large 
centres  organized  for  their  comfort  and  recrea- 
tion as  well  as  for  moral  and  religious  assist- 
ance. Diu-ing  this  stage  no  fewer  than  4,000 
Anzacs  poured  into  the  Metropolis  for  week- 
end furloughs.  To  a  great  extent  it  was 
an  aimless  throng  with  little  idea  of  the  where- 
abouts of  notable  or  historic  sights  and  buildings 
and  yet  desirous  of  seeing  something.  By  com- 
bination of  the  home  and  overseas  Y.M.C.A. 
staffs,  a  system  of  personally  conducted  tours 
was  arranged,  which  avoided  dangers  to  the 
health  of  the  men  and  worked  to  their  pleasure 
and  advantage. 

In  staff  and  policy  the  Indian  Y.M.C.A. 
National  Council  always  maintained  a  high 
level.  This  was  due  partly  to  cosmopolitan  en- 
vironment and  in  some  measure  to  the  condi- 
tions under  which  it  commenced  operations. 
It  sought,  for  instance,  to  influence  the  highly- 
educated  young  Hindus  and  Mahomedans  to 
an  appreciation  of  Christianity  as  well  as  to 
make  provision  for  the  Englishman  in  the 
Civil  Service  or  engaged  in  banking  and  com- 
mercial houses.  Many  of  the  Indian  Y.M.C.A. 
secretaries  were  University  men  who  had 
studied  Indian  thought  and  literature.  They 
engaged  in  notable  social  experiments,  and  whilst 
remaining  true  to  their  primary  religious  aim 
endeavoured  to  introduce  improved  methods 
of  agriculture,  seed-growing,  and  the  better 
breeding  of  cattle  amongst  the  agricultural 
classes.  They  also  sought  the  advancement 
of  cottage  industries  and  the  development  of 
the  cooperative  credit  movement.  In  these 
objects     considerable    success     followed     their 


efforts,  so  that  on  the  outbreak  of  hostilities, 
the  Indian  Y.M.C.A.  enjoyed  a  position  of 
confidence  and  appreciation  on  the  part  of  the 
authorities. 

For  the  purposes  of  the  war  the  Indian 
National  Council  set  free  some  of  its  trained 
secretaries,  including  Mr.  Oliver  McCowen, 
LL.B.,  who,  as  already  mentioned,  took 
charge  of  the  Y.M.C.A.  operations  in  France 
and  Mr.  Wilson  who  went  to  Salonika. 
Others  served  in  France,  Mesopotamia, 
and  British  East  Africa.  A  section  of 
the  men  devoted  themselves  to  the  social 
necessities  of  the  Indian  troops  who  arrived 
in  France,  having  accompanied  them  from 
India.  Tins  arrangement  was  made  on  the 
distinct  understanding  with  the  authorities  — 
and  duly  and  strictly  observed — that  prosely- 
tizing should  not  be  attempted.  These  Indian 
Y.M.C.A.  secretaries  rendered  a  variety  of 
personal  services,  such,  for  instance,  as  visiting 
wounded  men  in  hospital,  writing  letters  to 
their  homes,  the  erection  of  huts  or  marquees 
for  games,  the  arrangement  of  tea  parties — an 
innocent  form  of  pleasure  much  enjoyed  by 
the  Indian  soldier — and  similar  acts  of  sym- 
pathy and  hospitality. 

The  depletion  of  staff  in  India  which  followed, 
received  compensation  by  the  services  of  Rev. 
Dr.  Moulton  of  Manchester,  Dr.  T.  R.  Glover 
of  Cambridge,  and  several  clergymen,  ministers 
and  young  Divinity  students  from  England 
and  Scotland.  Some  of  these  men  delivered 
lectures  on  religious  and  other  subjects,  with 
reference  to  the  war  and  its  lessons,  for  the 
benefit  of  the  highly  educated  Hindus  and 
Mahomedans.  Others  devoted  themselves 
to  the  ordinary  Y.M.C.A.  organization.  Not 
the  least  valuable  part  of  the  war  contribution 
made  by  the  Indian  National  Council  was  its 
endeavour  to  afford  the  thousands  of  Terri- 
torials, sent  to  India  on  the  outbreak  of  war, 
an  opportunity  of  visiting  some  of  its  historic 
sights  and  of  appreciating  the  material  and 
social  advantages  of  British  rule  in  the  Great 
Dependency.  For  the  most  part  these  Terri- 
torials were  untravelled,  and  their  stay  in  India, 
through  the  assistance  of  the  Y.M.C.A., 
became  educational  and  formative  in  its 
character  and  influence. 


CHAPTER    CXLIII. 


THE  RUSSIAN  OFFENSIVE  OF  1916 
SECOND  PHASE. 


Survey  of  the  Second  Phase  of  General  Brusiloff's  Offensive — General  Lesh's  Advance 
on  the  Lower  Styr — The  Battle  on  the  Stokhod — General  Sakharoff's  Advance  south- 
west of  Lutsk — The  Battle  of  Mikhailovka — The  Battle  on  the  Lipa — The  Battle  for 
Brody — The  Advance  against  the  Lvoff — Tarnopol  Railway— General  Lechitsky's 
Campaign — Its  Objectives — The  Capture  of  Kolomea  and  the  Cutting  of  the  Stanislavoff- 
Marmaros  Sziget  Railway' — The  Fall  of  Stanislavoff  and  the  Capture  of  a  Dniester 
Crossing — Count  Bothmer's  Retreat  and  General  Shcherbacheff's  Advance  in  the  Centre 
— Changes  in  the  Higher  Commands  of  the  Austro-German  Armies  south  of  the  Marshes. 


ON  June  4  the  Russian  armies  had 
broken  through  the  enemy  lines  in 
Volhynia  and  on  the  Bukovinian 
frontier.  What  the  first  phase  of 
the  great  Russian  offensive  in  the  summer  of 
1916  accomplished  was  to  develop  these  suc- 
cesses within  the  districts  in  which  they  had 
been  achieved.  Lutsk  and  Dubno  were  re- 
covered ;  the  battle -lino  was  advanced  within 
some  40  miles  of  Kovel  and  Vladimir-Volynsk, 
and  within  less  than  10  miles  of  Brody.  Almost 
all  the  ground  gained  in  Volhynia  between 
June  4-15  was  maintained  against  a  most 
violent  Austro-German  counter-offensive  car- 
ried on  throughout  the  second  half  of  the 
month.  South  of  the  Dniester  our  Allies  con- 
quered in  not  quite  three  weeks  practically 
the  whole  of  the  Bukovina,  and  extended  their 
lines  into  south-eastern  Galicia,  beyond 
Sniatyn  and  Kuty.  These  territorial  gains 
were  accompanied  by  crushing  military  defeats 
of  the  enemy  ;  two  Austro-Hungarian  armies, 
that  of  Archduke  Joseph-Ferdinand  in  Vol- 
hynia, and  that  of  General  von  Pflanzer-Baltin 
in  the  Bukovina,  lost  more  than  half  their 
effectives,  and  also  the  other  three  Austro- 
German  armies  operating  south  of  the  Pripet 
Marshes  (the  Third  Austro-Hungarian  Army, 
Vol.  IX.— Part  110.  201 


under  General  Puhallo  von  Brlog,  on  the 
Lower  Styr;  the  Second  Austro  Hungarian 
Army,  under  General  von  Boehm-ErmoDi,  on 
the  Brody-Tarnopol,  and  the  Army  of  General 
Count  Bothmer,  on  the  Tarnopol-Butchatch 
front)  suffered  very  severe  losses.  The  Petro- 
grad  official  eoimnunique  of  June  27  stated  that 
the  prisoners  and  trophies  captured  by  the 
armies  of  General  Brusiloff  between  June  4-23 
amounted  to  4,031  officers,  194,041  men,  219 
guns,  besides  644  machine-guns,  196  bomb 
mortars,  146  artillery  ammunition  wagons  and 
38  searchlights. 

The  enormous  importance  of  the  Russian 
victories  of  June,  1916,  as  a  step  in  the  attrition 
of  the  enemy  forces  was  patent ;  the  losses 
suffered  by  the  enemy  on  the  Eastern  front 
during  those  three  weeks  were  about  equal  to 
those  he  had  suffered  at  Verdun  in  130  days 
of  fighting.  Still,  all  that  the  Russians  had 
accomplished  so  far  in  the  field  left  more  to  be 
done.  The  Austro-German  front  south  of  the 
Marshes  had  been  pierced,  but  it  was  not  as 
yet  broken  up  to  the  extent  of  necessitating  a 
general  retreat.  In  the  course  of  the  War 
both  sides  had  had  to  learn  that  where  the 
greatest  nations  of  the  world  are  fighting,  it 
takes  much   to  render   a  victory  final    and   a 


20-2 


THE    TIMES    HISTOBY    OF    THE    WAR. 


NEAR    THE    DANGER    ZONE. 
Russian  Officers  and  peasants  watching  a  battle. 


decision  irreversible.  Each  side  had  passed 
through  defeats  and  recoveries.  Was  a  new 
recover}'  on  the  Eastern  front  still  possible,  for 
the  Central  Powers  ?  This  was  the  question 
which  had  to  be  answered  by  the  second  and 
third  phase  of  the  fighting  between  the  Pripet 
Marshes  and  the  Carpathian  Mountains. 
Generalship  and  available  reserves  were  the 
factors  in  its  solution.  In  the  first  phase  of 
the  offensive  our  Allies  had  gained  two  salients 
— in  Volhynia  and  in  the  Bukovina.  But  as 
much  as  ''nature  abhors  a  vacuum"  the  strategy 
of  railway  and  trench  warfare  abhors  salients. 
Was  the  approximately  straight  line  to  be 
regained  by  the  flattening  out  of  the  Russian 
salients  or  by  a  completion  of  the  Russian 
advance  ?  The  battles  on  the  Lower  Styr,  on 
the  Loshiiioff-Zalost.se  and  the  Tlumatch  lines, 
the  fall  of  Brody  and  Stanislavoff,  and  finally 
the  retreat  of  Count  Bothmer's  Army  in  the 
centre  supplied  the  answer  to  that  question. 
They  constitute  the  second  phase  of  the  great 
Russian  offensive  of  1916. 

Towards  the  end  of  June,  four  divisions 
could  be  distinguished  south  of  the  Marshes  : 

(1)  In  the  extreme  north,  on  the  Lower 
Styr,    between    the    Pripet    Marshes    and    the 


district  of  Kolki,  the  enemy  front  had  remained 
practically  intact. 

(2)  Between  Kolki  and  Novo-Alexiniets  (on 
the  Galician  border),  on  a  stretch  of  about  80 
miles,  the  enemy  front  had  been  knocked  in, 
the  line  now  forming  an  enormous  salient 
toward  the  west,  in  some  sectors  as  much  as 
45  miles  deep. 

(3)  Between  Novo-Alexiniets  and  Visnio- 
vtehyk,  on  a  front  of  about  40  miles,  the  enemy 
lines  were  again  practically  intact,  and  even 
in  the  sector  between  Visniovtchyk  and  the 
Dniester,  the  regression  of  the  Austro-German 
forces  was  as  yet  slight. 

(4)  South  of  the  Dniester  the  defences  of  the 
enemy  had  been  completely  broken  up  and  our 
Allies  were  advancing  in  full  force  to  the  west, 
against  Kolomea  and  the  Carpathian  passes. 

The  centre  in  the  Sereth-Strypa  sector  formed 
the  pivot  of  the  Germanic  defences  south  of 
the  Marshes.  It  was  based  on  a  strong  river 
line,  on  which  like  beads  on  a  string  one  might 
see  numerous  villages  and  manors,  each  of  thein 
transformed  into  a  small  fortress.  On  a 
stretch  of  about  50  miles  it  was  connected  with 
the  west  by  no  less  than  four  railway  lines.  Its 
right  flank  was  covered  by  the  Dniester,  and 


THE    TIMES    HISTORY    OF    THE    WAR. 


203 


although  our  Allies  had  crossed  the  Lower 
Strypa  round  Butchatch  and  were  approaching 
the  line  of  the  Koropiets,  Bothmer's  position  in 
the  centre  was  not  really  outflanked  as  long 
as  he  maintained  his  hold  on  the  Dniester 
crossings.  Below  Nizhnioff  the  difficult  nature 
of  the  Dniester  belt  prevented  the  Russian  Army 
on  the  southern  bank  of  the  river  from  making 
its  pressure  seriously  felt  in  the  right  flank  of 
Count  Bothmer's  Army.  The  left  flank  of  the 
Austro-German  centre  on  the  line  Brody- 
Zalostse  was  protected  by  an  exceedingly 
strong  front  of  hills,  marshy  rivers,  ponds  and 
thick  forests.  Finally  the  existence  of  a  series 
of  excellent  lines  of  defence  in  the  rear  of  the 
Strypa  front,  along  the  many  parallel  northern 
confluents  of  ■  the  Dniester,  allowed  Bothmer 
to  hang  on  to  his  original  positions  to  the 
last  moment  ;  he  knew  that  he  could  always 
effect  his  retreat  by  short  and  quick  move- 
ments without  any  danger  of  being  cut  off. 
His  position  would  then  resemble  that  of  the 
Russians  in  the  late  summer  of  1915  when 
they  slowly  retreated  through  Eastern  Galicia, 
fighting  stubborn  rearguard  actions,  after  they 
had  already  been  outflanked  in  all  appearance 
both  south  of  the  Dniester  and  in  Volhynia. 
But  as  long  as  the  centre  held  out,  all  hope  of 


a  recovery  on  tho  Eastern  front  was  not  lost 
for  tho   Central   Powers.     Their   first   effort   to 
re-establish  their  line  was  by  a  counter-offensive 
against   the   northern   flank   of   the   Volhynian 
salient,  in  the  region  between  the  Stokhod  and 
the    Styr.     An    attempt    was    made    by    the 
Germans  to  cut  in  at  its  base  in  the  sector  where 
they  were  still  holding   the  line  of  tho  Styr  or 
its  neighbourhood.     A  successful  thrust  across 
the  river  in  that  region  would  have  forced  a 
general     Russian     retreat     in     Volhynia.     The 
German  counter-offensive,  which  was  developed 
and  defeated  in  the  second  half  of  June,  was 
followed    up    by    tho    Russians    by    an    attack 
against   the   German   positions   on   the   Lower 
Styr.      In    the    course    of    June    the    Army    of 
General   Lesh  had  been  brought  south,  across 
the  Marshes,  thus  enabling  General  Kaledin  to 
concentrate    his    forces    in    the    Lutsk    salient. 
On    July    4    General    Lesh    opened    a   brilliant 
advance    on    both    sides    of    the    Kovel-Sarny 
railway.      The    line    of    the    Stokhod,    in    that 
sector  some  30  miles  to  the  west  of  the  Styr, 
was  reached  in  the  course  of  a  few  days.     The 
northern  flank  of  General  Kaledin's  Army  was 
now    completely    covered.     The    longitude    of 
Lutsk  was  passed  by  the  Russian  troops  and  the 
Volhynian  triangle  of  fortresses  ceased  to  form 


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204 


THE    TIMES    HISTORY    OF    THE    WAR. 


205 


a  salient.  North  of  it  "  the  problem  of  the 
straight  line  "  was  thus  settled  in  favour  of  our 
Allies.  The  enemy  was  definitely  thrown  back 
on  to  the  defensive,  and  the  battle  for  Kovel 
now  developed  on  the  entire  Stokhod  line,  from 
Kisielin  to  Stobychva. 

The  next  attempt  at  a  countor-offensive  was 
planned  by  the  enemy  against  the  southern 
flank  of  the  Volhynian  salient.  Big  forces 
were  collected  north  of  the  Galician  frontier, 
between  the  Upper  Styr  and  the  Bug.  The 
attack  was  timed  for  July  18.  It  was  fore- 
stalled by  General  Sakharoff,  who  on  July  16 
opened  a  new  offensive  against  the  Austro- 
German  lines.  In  a  week's  fighting  he  dashod 
all  chances  and  hopes  of  the  enemy  of  being 
able  to  regain  the  initiative  in  that  region. 
Then,  after  a  few  days'  lull  in  the  fighting, 
General  Sakharoff  opened  in  full  force  his 
own  offensive.  On  July  28  his  troops  entered 
Brody.  The  Lutsk  salient  was  thus  being 
extended  to  the  south,  its  left  wing  was  moving 
forward  Then,  in  the  first  days  of  August, 
followed  an  offensive  against  the  right  flank  of 
the  German  centre.  The  Russian  troops  were 
approaching  the  first-class  railway  leading  from 
Lvoff  by  Tarnopol  to  Odessa,  the  most  impor- 
tant line  of  communication  of  Count  Bothmer's 
Army.  By  August  9  the  Russians  stood 
within  striking  distance  of  that  railway.  The 
problem  of  the  Lutsk  salient  was  solved  also 
on  its  southern  flank.  A  straight  line  was  being 
gradually  established  at  the  expense  of  the 
enemy. 

In  the  southern  theatre  of  war,  between  the 
Dniester  and  the  Carpathian  Mountains, 
General  Lechitsky  continued  after  the  fall  of 
Czernovitz  his  rapid  advance  to  the  west.  On 
June  29  his  troops  entered  Kolomea,  on  July  4 
they  cut  the  Stanislavoff-Vorokhta-Marmaros 
Sziget  railway  in  the  district  of  Mikulitchin. 
Then  after  a  month's  lull  in  the  fighting,  in  the 
beginning  of  August,  General  Lechitsky's  Army 
entered  Stanislavoff  and  captured  the  Dniester 
crossing  at  Nizhnioff. 

Count  Bothmer's  Army  in  the  centre  was 
thereby  effectively  outflanked  from  the  south. 
Its  communication  with  the  west  by  the  so- 
called  Transversal  Railway  (the  line  which  runs 
through  Galicia  east  and  west  at  the  foot  of  the 
Carpathians  and  is  the  base  of  the  lines  across 
those  mountains)  was  cut,  whilst  General  Sak- 
haroff had  got  within  reach  of  the  Lvoff- 
Odessa  railway.  The  retreat  of  the  "  German 
Army  of  the  South  "  could  not  be  delayed  any 


longer.  Two  days  after  Genoral  Lechitsky's 
troops  had  entered  Stanislavoff,  those  of 
General  Shcherbacheff's  Army  were  in  posses- 
sion of  the  whole  length  of  the  Sereth-Strypa 
front  which  the  Austro-German  armies  had 
held  for  the  last  11  months  and  which 
they  had  defended  with  the  most  desperate 
stubbornness  during  the  preceding  10  weeks  of 
the  Russian  offensive. 

With  the  retreat  of  the  enemy  on  to  the 
Zlota  Lipa  the  last  sector  of  the  original  front 
south  of  the  Marshes  passed  into  the  hands  of 
our  Allies.  A  new  approximately  straight  line 
was  established.  North  of  the  Dniester  it 
extended  about  20-45  miles  east  of  the  original 
positions  ;  south  of  the  river  the  Russian  pro- 
gress reached  an  average  of  over  60  miles.  As 
in  the  Russian  retreat  of  1915,  so  also  in  their 
advance  of  1916,  the  movements  were  slowest 
in  the  centre  in  Podolia,  more  rapid  in  Volhynia, 
quickest  of  all  in  the  corridor  between  the 
Dniester  and  the  Carpathians.  Of  the  three 
vital  centres  behind  the  original  Austro- 
German  f  ront — Kovel,  Lvoff  and  Stanislavoff — 
only  the  last  was  captured  by  our  Allies.  Still, 
that  capture  was  of  capital  importance.  For 
during  the  lull  which  intervened  between  the 
second  and  the  third  phase  of  the  offensive,  a 
new  Ally  joined  Russia  in  the  attack  against 
Transylvania.  On  August  27  Rumania  de- 
clared war  on  Austria-Hungary  with  a  view  to 
liberating  her  kinsmen  from  a  'oreign  yoke. 

Whilst  north  of  the  Marshes  the  great  battle 
was  raging  round  Baranovitche,  and  on  the 
northern  flank  of  the  Lutsk  salient  the  Germans 
were  exhausting  their  forces  in  fruitless 
attacks  against  the  Gruziatyn-Rozhyshche 
front,  in  his  own  unmistakable  style  General 
Brusiloff  carried  out  another  offensive  stroke. 
This  time  the  blow  was  delivered  on  the  Lower 
Styr,  in  the  southern  Poliesie,  between  the 
Pripet  Marshes  and  the  Volhynian  theatre  of 
war.  Carefully  prepared  beforehand,  and  ex- 
ecuted with  the  suddenness  and  vigour  character- 
istic of  General  Brusiloff's  strategy,  the  advance 
from  the  Styr  to  the  Stokhod,  on  a  front  of 
35  to  40  miles,  and  to  a  depth  of  about  25  miles, 
was  achieved  in  four  days,  across  ground 
which  before  the  war  would  have  been  con- 
sidered altogether  impracticable  for  big  mili- 
tary operations.  In  the  gigantic  drama  which 
unfolded  itself  on  the  Eastern  front  in  tha 
summer  of  1916,  these  operations  tended  to  sink 
to   the  level  of  a  minor  episode  ;   before  tha 

110—2 


200 


THE    TIMES    H1STOBY    OF    THE    WAR. 


THE    KOVEL    FRONT. 


attention  of  the  public  had  had  time  to  con- 
centrate on  the  activities  of  General  Lesh's 
army,  its  advance  had  been  completed.  And 
yet  this  battle  in  the  southern  fringes  of  the 
Pripet  Marshes  marks  one  of  the  strides  of  the 
Russian  giant -nation  on  its  path  to  victory. 

Only  the  barest  outlines  of  General  Lesh's 
offensive  can  be  gathered  from  the  Russian 
official  communiques  The  Petrograd  report 
of  July  4  gave  the  first  intimation  of  a  new 
battle  developing  on  the  Lower  Styr.  It 
recorded  Russian  gains  on  both  sides  of  the 
Kovel-Sarny  railway,  in  the  districts  of  Vulka 
( laluzyiskaya  and  of  Kolki,  the  one  about 
twelve  miles  to  the  north-west,  and  the 
other  about  the  same  distance  to  the  south- 
west of  Tchartoryisk.  The  advanced  angle 
which  the  enemy  positions  formed  in  this 
district  was  thus  subjected  to  a  concentric 
attack.  The  next  day  further  progress  was 
reported  in  both  directions.  "  In  the  region 
of  Vulka  Galuzyiskaya,"  says  the  Russian 
communique,  of  July  5,  "  we  broke  through 
three    lines     of     barbed     wire     entanglements 


fitted  with  land  mines.  In  a  very  desperate 
fight  on  the  Styr,  west  of  Kolki,  we  over- 
threw the  enemy  and  took  over  a  thousand 
prisoners,  including  170  officers,  together 
with  3  guns,  17  machine  guns,  2  searchlights, 
and  several  thousand  rifles.  The  bridging 
detachment  lent  the  troops  most  useful  aid, 
keeping  pace  with  the  fighting  units  and 
working  close  to  the  firing  line." 

The  report  of  July  0  enumerated  further 
captures  of  men  and  material  effected  in  the 
fighting,  which  by  then  had  reached  the  region 
of  Kostiukhnovka  in  the  north,  and  had 
extended  beyond  Raznitse  on  the  southern  side 
of  the  Tchartoryisk  salient. 

Whilst  from  the  direction  of  Kolki  the  ad- 
vance was  carried  on  due  north,  the  Russian 
troops  which  had  crossed  the  Styr  below 
Rafalovka  were  changing  their  direction  from 
west  to  south-west.  The  Petrograd  communi- 
que, of  July  7  reported  the  capture  of  the  villages 
of  Grady  and  Komaroff  south  of  the  Kovel- 
Sarny  railway,  and  the  forcing  of  organized 
°nemy     positions     on     the     Galuzya-Optova- 


THE    TIMES    HISTORY     OF    THE    WAR. 


207 


Voltchesk  line  north  of  that  railway  ;  finally  an 
advance  of  Russian  cavalry  resulting  in  the 
occupation  of  the  railway-station  of  Manie- 
vitche.  These  operations,  carried  out  on  con- 
centric lines  with  extraordinary  speed  and 
precision,  led  to  the  capture  of  thousands  of 
prisoners  and  of  numerous  guns  (e.g.,  near 
Voltchesk  the  Russian  cavalry  took  an  entire 
Krupp  battery  of  six  guns  which  had  fired  only 
a  few  shots).  By  July  7  the  two  concentric 
movements  resulted  in  a  junction  of  the  forces. 
The  Russian  communique  issued  early  on  July  8 
marks  the  re-establishment  of  a  straight  front 
facing  west  ;  the  line  mentioned  in  the  report 
runs  from  Gorodok  and  Manievitche  in  the 
north,  through  Okonsk  and  Zagarovka  to  Kolki. 
Simultaneously  with  the  news  of  this  advance 
towards  and  beyond  the  Kovel-Sarny  railway, 
the  first  mention  was  made  of  another  offen- 
sive developing  almost  in  the  thick  of  the 
Marshes.  As  a  matter  of  fact,  this  was  not 
a  new  movement  ;  on  the  same  day  on  which 
the  first  enemy  positions  had  been  forced  near 
Volka  Galuzyiskaya  and  near  Kolki,  our  Allies 
had  begun  to  advance  also  on  the  Yeziertsky- 
Novo  Tcherevishche  line.  These  operations 
now  resulted  in  the  capture  of  Griva  and 
Leshnevka.  The  important  road  which  crosses 
the   River    Stokhod    at    Novo    Tcherevishche 


and  leads  by  Manievitche  to  Kolki,  was  now, 
west  of  the  Stokhod,  in  the  hands  of  our  Allies. 
"  General  Brusiloff's  troops,"  says  the  Petro- 
grad  communique  issued  on  the  night  of  July  8, 
"  are  approaching  the  Stokhod,  routing  the 
enemy  everywhere,  in  spite  of  his  desperate 
resistance."  In  the  next  few  days  they  not 
merely  reached  but  even  crossed  the  river. 
The  three  days'  battle  between  the  Styr  and 
Stokhod  was  terminated,  the  subsequent 
operations  of  General  Lesh's  Army  merging 
with  those  of  General  Kaledin's  right  wing  and 
centre  into  the  battle  for  Kovel. 

The  Russian  communique,  published  on  the 
night  of  July  8,  summarizes  in  terms  of  captures 
the  results  of  General  Lesh's  advance  :  "  Ac- 
cording to  an  apjDroximate  estimate  in  the 
course  of  fighting  between  the  Styr  and  the 
Stokhod  from  July  4  to  7  we  took  prisoners  at 
least  300  officers,  including  two  regimental 
commanders,  and  about  12,000  unwounded  men, 
and  we  also  captured  not  fewer  than  45  guns, 
heavy  and  light,  about  45  machine-guns,  and  a 
large  quantity  of  shells,  cartridges,  arms, 
supplies  and  forage. ' '  Nor  could  the  enemy  any 
longer  hide  the  fact  of  his  defeat.  "  The  angle 
projecting  towards  Tchartoryisk,  owing  to 
superior  pressure  on  its  flank  near  Kostiukh- 
novka  and  west  of  Kolki  was  given  up  and  a 


WITH    GENERAL    BRUSILOFF'S    TROOPS. 
A   halt  to  examine  wounds. 


208 


THE    TIMES    HISTORY    OF    THE     WAR. 


shorter  defensive  line  was  chosen,"  ran  the 
Berlin  report  of  July  7 — brief,  harsh  and  un- 
pleasant. Vienna  on  the  other  hand  showed 
terrified  courtesy  for  its  allies,  more  pity  for 
itself,  and  even  less  regard  to  truth.     Another 


A    CORNER     OF    THE    BATTLEFIELD. 

Wounded  Russians  and  Austrians  waiting  for  the 
ambulances.  Smaller  picture  :  Lady  Muriel  Paget 
working   at   a   field    hospital   on    the    Russian  front. 

part  of  the  line  which  the  Germans  had  left 
mainly  in  the  care  of  their  Austrian  allies  was 
gone  !  Their  elaborately  embroidered  version 
of  the  three  disastrous  days  in  the  southern 
Poliesie  ran  as  follows  :  "  The  troops  fighting  in 
the  Styr  salient,  north  of  Kolki,  which  through 
four  weeks  have  been  holding  their  own  against 
enemy  fighting  forces  which  increased  to  a 
superiority  of  from  three  to  five-fold,  received 
instructions  yesterday  to  withdraw  their  first 
lines,  which  were  exposed  to  being  surrounded 
on  two  sides.  Favoured  by  the  arrival  of 
German  troops  to  the  west  of  Kolki  and  by  the 
self-sacrificing  attitude  of  the  Polish  Legion  near 
Kolodye,  the  movement  was  carried  out 
without  any  disturbance  on  the  part  of  the 
enemy." 

The  Russian  official  reports,  in  their  extreme, 
matter-of-fact  brevity,  yielded  but  the  dry  bones 
of  the  events  and  even  so  supplied  only  parts  of 
the  skeleton  ;  published  whilst  the  struggle  was 
still  in  progress,  they  had  to  be  most  particular 
in  the  choice  of  information  to  be  given  out  tu 
the  world.  Knowledge  recalling  these  events  to 
a  new  life  has  to  be  gathered  from  other  sources. 


THE    TIMES    HISTORY    OF    THE    WAR. 


203 


In  the  course  of  June,  whilst  General  Kaledin 
was  first  advancing,  and  then  defending  his  gains 
in  Volhynia,  the  army  of  General  Lesh,  which 
had  previously  stood  north  of  Pinsk,  was 
transferred  across  the  Marshes,  taking  over 
from  the  Eighth  Russian  Army  the  sector  on 
the  Lower  Styr.  It  was  faced  by  the  Third 
Austro-Hungarian  Army  of  General  Puhallo, 
which  included,  among  others,  the  army  corps 
of  General  von  Fath  and  the  Polish  Legions 
luider  General  Puchalski  round  Kolodye, 
opposite  Rafalovka.  In  the  early  days  of  the 
Russian  offensive  only  feint  attacks  had  been 
made  by  our  allies  on  the  Lower  Styr,  below 
Kolki.  Spring  was  very  late  in  1910,  and 
in  the  first  days  of  June  the  ground  and  roads 
were  not  as  yet  sufficiently  dry  to  admit 
of  any  important  operations  in  that  classical 
land  of  birch  and  pine  forests,  bogs  and 
marshes.  In  the  few  encounters  which  occurred 
in  it  in  June  the  percentage  of  "  missing  "  was 
unusually  high  on  both  sides  ;  most  of  these 
were  the  men,  very  often  wounded  men, 
who  found  their  death  in  the  treacherous 
swamps. 

The  enemy  reserves  in  the  East  were  never 
abundant  from  the  time  when,  in  disregard 
of  the  requirements  of  the  Russian  front,  the 


Germans  had  begun  to  squander  their  divi- 
sions at  Verdun,  and  the  Austrians  had  con- 
centrated all  their  available  forces  on  the 
Italian  front.  Whatever  reinforcements  had 
been  brought  up  after  the.  disastrous  defeats 
in  Volhynia  and  in  the  Bukovina  were 
used  to  fill  the  gaps  caused  by  the  mass  sur- 
renders or  were  formed  at  chosen  points  into 
phalanxes    for    counter-offensi\e    movements. 


WOUNDED    RUSSIANS    AND    AUSTRIANS. 

Russian  Cossacks  outside  a  dressing-station  waiting  for  attention.     Smaller  picture  :   Austrian 

prisoners  carrying  a  wounded  comrade. 


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210 


THE    TIMES    HISTORY    OF    THE    WAR. 


211 


In  the  first  days  of  July  tho  attention  of  the 
German  commanders  was  concentrated  on 
Baranovitche  and  the  Middle  Styr.  The  district 
on  the  Lower  Styr  below  Kolki  was  to  some 
extent  neglected.  Its  reserves  consisted  of  a 
single  Bavarian  division  ;  and  even  the  dis- 
position of  whatever  forces  there  were,  seems  to 
have  been  made  on  a  wrong  assumption. 
Russian  attacks  were  expected  on  the  higher 
ground  round  Tchartoryisk,  in  the  vicinity  of 
the  Kovel-Sarny  railway.  Once  more  the  mili- 
tary intelligence  of  our  Allies  and  their  skill  in 
masking  their  own  movements  and  hiding  their 
intentions  from  their  opponents  proved  superior 
to  those  of  the  enemy,  much  of  the  superiority 
attained  in  reconnoitring  in  the  Poliesie  being 
due  to  the  self-sacrificing  devotion  of  the  Little 
Russian  peasantry  inhabiting  these  regions. 

Between  Komaroff  and  Vulka  Galuzyiskaya 
extends  a  wide,  low,  sandy  plain,  so  flat  as  to 
hamper  observation.  Whenever  observations 
could  not  be  made  by  means  of  balloons 
the  direction  of  the  artillery  fire  proved  very 
difficult.  Across  the  plain  the  opposing 
fronts  formed  continuous  lines,  although 
their  organization  could  hardly  be  described  as 
equal  to  the  average  obtaining  under  normal 
topographical  conditions.  In  many  parts  the 
wet,  sandy  soil  did  not  admit  of  deep  earthworks 
and  dug-outs. 

North  of  the  plain  traversed  by  the  Kovel- 
Sarny  railway,  between  Galuzya  and  Nobel,  the 
positions  no  longer  formed  a  continuous  front, 
most  of  the  ground  being  completely  impassable 
during  by  far  the  greater  part  of  the  year. 
"  Here  in  the  Poliesie,"  wrote  M.  Sumskoy  in 
the  Russlcoye  Slovo  of  July  17-30,  "  there  is  no 
continuous  front,  but  merely  a  series  of  forts, 
scattered  almost  as  on  a  chess-board.  And  each 
such  fort  by  itself  represents  an  entire  history 
of  technical  craft,  containing  a  number  of 
ingenious  devices  calculated  to  render  them 
strong  with  the  smallest  possible  use  of  human 
force."  Each  isolated  fort  was  dressed  in 
"  shirts  of  iron  and  steel,"  surrounded  by 
barriers,  obstacles  and  pitfalls  such  as  no 
imagination  had  ever  invented  in  ancient 
legends  of  enchanted,  unapproachable  castles. 
The  forts  were  naturally  placed  on  higher 
ground,  the  only  spots  capable  of  bearing 
human  habitations.  The  tracks  leading  to 
them  across  the  marshes  were  limited  in 
number.  The  approaches  were  protected  by 
strong  barriers  lavishly  covered  with  barbed 
wire.     In   some   places   even   a   peculiar   kind 


of  net  was  used,  incandescent  when  cut, 
and  thus  at  night  signalling  movements  of 
the  enemy.  As  far  as  weapons  were  con- 
cerned, here,  as  everywhere  in  the  Austro- 
Gerinan  lines,  machine-guns,  cleverly  placed 
and  carefully  hidden,  played  the  most  important 
part. 

Inside  the  settlements  everything  had  been 
re-arranged  by  the  Germans,  who  garrisoned 
most  of  the  ground  in  the  thick  of  the  Marshes, 
so  that  the  Russians  should  not  be  able  to 
direct  their  artillery  fire  by  their  previous 
knowledge  of  the  country.  But  it  was 
not  merely  for  their  safety  that  the  Germans 
took     careful     thought.     Nice     little     gardens, 


MAJOR-GENERAL    PUCHALSKI. 

pleasure-grounds,  and  even  tennis-courts  were 
laid  out  in  those  settlements ;  whatever 
fields  there  were  around,  were  tilled.  The 
scattered  forts  were  connected  with  one 
another  by  a  well-developed  net  of  telegraph 
and  telephone  lines,  and  the  whole  system 
had  light  field-railways  for  its  backbone. 
Most  of  the  native  population  had  left  with 
the  Russians  ;  yet  a  certain  number  had 
remained  behind,  many  of  them  without  the 
knowledge  of  the  German  invaders.  They 
were  roaming  about  the  forests,  across  paths 
and  by  means  known  only  to  themselves. 
They  were  slipping  through  the  meshes  of  the 
network  of  enemy  forts  and  carrying  inforina- 


212 


THE    TIMES    HISTORY    OF    THE    WAR. 


AUSTRIAN    PRISONERS 
Captured   on  the   Galician  front. 


tion  to  the  army  which  was  to  reconquer  for 
them  their  homes  and  liberate  their  country 
from  the  invader.  In  some  places  they  formed 
themselves  into  bands,  conducting  guerilla 
warfare.  The  services  rendered  by  these 
men  to  the  Russian  intelligence  service  were 
simply  invaluable.  Raids  in  this  district 
had  been  proceeding  throughout  the  winter, 
and  some  were  carried  out  even  in  May  and 
June,  1916.  Yet  the  actual  Russian  advance 
tlirough  the  region  of  forts  could  only  be 
effected  as  an  operation  subsidiary  to  the  main 
movement  across  the  Manievitche-Tchartoryisk 
plain,  of  which  the  milestones  are  named  in  the 
official  Petrograd  reports. 

Hot,  dry  weather  had  prevailed  throughout 
June.  The  shallow  ditches,  rivulets  and 
swamps  in  the  plain  were  slowly  disappearing, 
filling  the  air  with  the  awful  stench  of  drying 
slime.  Everywhere  one  could  see  those  hot- 
beds of  innumerable  swarms  of  midges,  flies 
and  mosquitoes  which  were  feeding  on  the 
rapidly-decaying  corpses  and  carcases,  and 
harrying  those  who  dared  to  live  .  in  tliis 
usually  forlorn  region.  In  the  close  heat  of 
a  July  night  in  the  low-lying  marshes,  our 
Allies  opened  their  bombardment  of  the 
sectors   singled   out   for   attack.     Striking   the 


sandy  soil,  the  shells  raised  up  a  wall  of 
dust ;  the  sun  rose  that  morning  over  the 
battlefield  not  in  the  white  mist  usually 
spreading  above  the  waters,  but  in  a  ruddy 
cloud  composed  of  dark  smoke  and  yellow, 
burning  sand.  It  was  a  live  cloud,  shaken 
by  the  violent  explosions  of  shrapnel  and 
illuminated  by  fiery  lightnings.  If  ever  hell 
was  revealed  on  earth  it  was  on  the  battle- 
fields of  the  Southern  Poliesie.  Parapets  were 
razed,  villages  stood  in  flames,  forests  were 
breaking  under  the  weight  of  the  bombard- 
ment ;  the  defence  was  being  disorganized ; 
in  the  shallow  trenches  lateral  movements  were 
becoming  increasingly  difficult,  the  telephone 
wires  were  being  torn,  different  sectors  were 
getting  isolated.  The  living  were  buried  in 
their  trenches  and  on  the  old  battlefields  the 
dead  were  raised  from  their  graves.  In  the 
forests  the  trees  themselves  seemed  as  if 
paralysed  in  the  agonizing  expectation  of 
death.  Not  a  sound,  not  a  movement,  but 
the  fearful  screeching  and  howling  of  sheik 
and  shrapnel,  and  the  sound  of  bullets  hitting 
the  mighty  pine  trunks.  The  crowns  and 
branches  of  the  trees  were  breaking,  and  a 
rich  shower  of  their  green  needles  was  filling 
the  air  and  covering  the  ground.  Below  the 
dying    giants  human  beings  were  moving  like 


THE    TIMES    HISTORY    OF    THE    WAR. 


213 


shadows,  inaudible  in  that  cataclysm  of 
destruction. 

And  then,  in  the  midst  of  that  orgy  of  horrors, 
the  Russian  attack  began,  both  near  Kolki  and 
on  the  Rafalcvka  front.  Across  the  plain  afford- 
ing but  scanty  cover,  and  into  the  forests 
carefully  fortified  by  the  enemy,  the  Russian 
infantry  was  advancing  with  the  usual  heroic 
equanimity  of  the  Slav  peasant.  What  were 
they  thinking,  those  quiet,  kindly  ploughmen 
on  that  day  which  saw  so  many  of  them 
die  ?  Individually,  of  things  which  matter 
only  to  the  individual  ;  as  a  mass,  they, 
with  their  unequalled  instinct  of  the  living 
community  and  crowd,  were  dreaming,  in  the 
midst  of  visions  of  horror,  the  great  mystic, 
shining  dream  of  their  nation. 

"  We  stormed  a  fortified  position  "  or  "  we 
broke  through  three  lines  of  barbed-wire 
entanglements  fitted  with  land  mines  "  were 
the  short,  business-like  announcements  from 
Russian  Headquarters.  How  much  was  there 
in  those  events  which  no  reports  can  ever 
express  !  Before  the  frontal  impact  of  the 
Russiwi  attack  the  Austrian  defences  broke 
down,  their  forces  fell  back  wherevor  a 
retreat    was    still    possible.     The    only    troops 


that  held  out  in  their  sectors  for  two  days, 
until  outflanked,  were  the  Bavarians  near 
Kolki  and  the  Polish  Legions  near  Kolodye. 
Their  help,  it  will  be  remembered,  was  grace- 
fully acknowledged  in  the  Vienna  communique 
of  July  7,  and  honours  were  conferred  on  the 
surviving  remnants  of  what  once  had  been 
regiments.  "  The  losses  are  serious,"  said  a  semi- 
official Polish  report,  "  though  one  cannot 
speak  of  a  general  catastrophe."  As  a  matter 
of  fact,  some  of  the  Polish  regiments  were 
practically  wiped  out  ;  thus— e.g.,  the  5th  lost 
almost  all  its  officers,  no  less  than  12  re- 
maining dead  on  the  battlefield  of  Kolodye. 

In  the  night  of  July  6-7,  the  last  enemy 
rear  guards  were  withdrawing  to  the  west, 
firing  in  their  retreat  villages,  causeways  and 
forests.  A  curtain  of  flames  was  to  cover  the 
defeated  army  from  its  pursuers.  Undei  the 
pale  stars  of  the  short  summer  night,  across 
the  plain  covered  with  delicate  purple  poppies, 
past  the  treacherous  marshes,  they  were  trek- 
ing  towards  the  distant  blue  range  of  hills, 
where  the  remnants  of  the  Austrian  forces  had 
already  found  a  temporary  shelter  and  com- 
parative safety.  In  spite  of  the  curtain  of 
flames  and  the  destruction  of  causeways,   the 


ON    THE    RUSSIAN    FRONT. 
Austrian  prisoners  at   work  relaying  a  narrow  gauge  railway. 


110—3 


•214 


THE     TIMES    HISTORY    OF    THE    WAR. 


FIGHTING    BEYOND    THE    STOKHOD. 

A  party  of  Infantry    advancing  in  the  open. 


intrepid  Cossacks  clung  to  the  defeated  enemy, 
harassing  his  worn-out  columns. 

Towards  the  end  of  June,  in  the  days  of  the 
most  violent  German  attacks  between  the 
Stokhod  and  the  Styr  on  both  sides  of  the 
Rovno-Kovel  railway,  oiir  Allies  had  had  to 
withdraw  their  line  in  several  sectors  by 
some  four  to  six  miles.  That  the  withdrawal 
was  quite  insignificant  was  admitted  even 
by  the  German  official  summary  of  the  Russian 
offensive  published  on  September  8,  1916  : 
it  tried  to  explain  away  "  the  comparatively 
small  progress  made  by  the  counter-offensive." 
But  even  that  they  were  unable  to  maintain. 
Simultaneously  with  the  advance  of  General 
Lesh's  army  the  troops  of  General  Kaledin 
resumed  the  initiative,  and  between  July  4—8 
regained  most  of  their  previous  positions  on 
the  Rozhyshche-Gruziatyn  front,  and  enlarged 
their  holdings  between  Gruziatyn  and  Kolki, 
capturing  341  officers,  9,135  unwounded  soldiers, 
and  rich  booty. 

On  July  8  the  two  Russian  Armies  under 
Generals  Lesh  and  Kaledin  had  reached  the 
River  Stokhod  practically  on  the  entire  front 
between  the  Kovel-Sarny  and  Kovel-Rovno 
railways.  At  two  points,  near  Arsenovitehe 
and  near  Ugly  (in  the  bend  of  the  river  between 
Kashovka  and  Yanovka)  they  even  forced  the 
passage.  At  Ugly,  Colonel  Kantseroff,  com- 
manding the  283rd  Pavlograd  Regiment,  a 
Knight  of  the  Order  of  St.  George,  at  the  head 
of  his  troops,  crossed  the  river  over  a  burning 
bridge.  When  the  fire  had  been  extinguished 
three  German  mines  were  found  under  the 
bridge  ;  by  some  miracle  they  had  failed  to 
explode.  In  the  course  of  the  next  day  our 
Allies  extended  their  positions  on  the  western 


bank  of  the  Stokhod,  capturing  practically  the 
entire  district  within  the  Kashovka-Yanovka 
curve,  and  also  carried  the  bridges  near  Bogus- 
hovka  on  the  road  and  railway  leading  from 
Rovno  to  Kovel.  The  latter  gains  seem,  how- 
ever, to  have  been  abandoned  in  the  fighting  of 
the  next  few  days. 

The  forcing  of  the  Stokhod  line  was  certainly 
to  prove  neither  an  easy  nor  a  short  affair. 
The  fighting  on  that  front  extending  round 
Kovel  at  an  average  radius  of  slightly  more 
than  20  miles  was  the  first  stage  of  the  battle 
for  that  important  strategic  centre  and  railway 
junction.  "  On  the  issue  of  these  battles," 
said  an  explanatory  statement  issued  by  the 
Russian  Staff  about  the  middle  of  July,  "  un- 
doubtedly depends  not  only  the  fate  of  Kovel 
and  its  strongly  fortified  zone,  but  >  also  to  a 
very  considerable  degree  all  the  present  opera- 
tions on  our  front.  In  the  event  of  the  fall  of 
Kovel  and  its  zone,  fresh  important  perspec- 
tives will  open  out  to  us,  for  the  road  to  Brest- 
Litovsk,  and  to  some  extent  also  the  roads  to 
Warsaw,  will  be  laid  bare."  No  wonder,  then, 
that  the  Germans  were  determined  to  hold  the 
line  of  the  Stokhod  to  the  last  gasp.  Kovel 
was  to  them  what  Verdun  had  been  to  the 
French. 

The  defence  was  decidedly  favoured  by  the 
topographical  conditions  of  the  country.  The 
Stokhod  itself,  it  is  true,  is  but  a  shallow  stream 
fordable  at  many  points.  Yet  its  passage  is 
impeded  by  the  wide,  marshy  areas  on  both 
its  banks.  The  country  round,  except  near 
Kashovka,  is  completely  flat,  with  a  slight 
tendency  to  elevation  on  the  western  side. 
Through  that  low -lying  plain  winds  the  slug- 
gish Stokhod,  in  the  midst  of  banks  of  reeds 
and  beds  of  water-lilies.     Artillery,  especially 


THE    TIMES    HISTORY    OF    THE    WAR. 


215 


that  of  the  heavier  kind,  can  approach  its  belt 
only  in  certain  sectors,  and  the  conditions  in 
that  respect  were  especially  bad  on  the  eastern 
side. 

The  defensive  positions  of  the  enemy  on  the 
left  bank  had  been  partly  prepared  by  the 
Austrians  in  the  autumn  of  1915.  Ever 
since  the  Russians  had  broken  through  in 
front  of  Lutsk,  the  Germans  had  been  busy 
converting  them  into  first-class  defences  ;  tens 
of  thousands  of  prisoners  of 'war  and  of  local 
inhabitants,  pressed  for  the  purpose,  were 
compelled  to  work  under  the  direction  of 
German  engineers  Consecutive  lines  of 
trenches  were  built,  land  mines  were  laid, 
mazes  of  barbed  wire  were  simk  among  the 
thick  water  growth,  under  the  surface  of  the 
slow-flowing  river.  A  very  considerable  force 
of  artillery  was  brought  up  for  the  defence  of 
the  Stokhod  line  ;  according  to  the  best 
Russian  authorities  no  less  than  100  heavy 
guns  and  180  of  a  lighter  calibre  were  gathered 
in  front  of  Kovel.  Nor  was  there  any  la"k  of 
men — by  now  far  less  abundant  with  the 
enemy  than  material.  Picked  troops — Bava- 
rians, Magyars,  Austrian  Germans  and  Polish 
Volunteers — were    facing    the   Great    Russian 


Finnish,  Siberian  and  Turkestan  divisions  of 
our  Allies.  The  numbers  of  the  enemy  were 
even  sufficient  to  enable  him  to  answer  with 
vigorous  and  costly  counter-offensives  the 
attacks  of  the  Russians. 

The  gathering  of  troops  and  material 
for  the  defence  of  Kovel  seems  to  have 
begun  directly  after  our  Allies  had  resumed 
their  offensive  in  Volhynia  —  i.e.,  in  the 
first  days  of  July.  "  Fighting  continues  in 
the  Stokhod  district,"  said  the  Petrograd 
communique  of  July  11.  "The  enemy  having 
brought  up  reinforcements  and  advanced 
powerful  artillery,  is  offering  a  stubborn 
resistance."  A  battle  more  fierce  than  any 
that  had  as  yet  been  seen  in  the  Volhynian 
offensive  developed  now  on  both  sides  of  the 
Kovel-Sarny  and  the  Kovel-Rovno  railways, 
both  armies  suffering  heavy  casualties. 
"  Though  we  are  already  across  the  river  at 
several  places,"  wrote  The  Times  special 
correspondent,  Mr.  Washburn,  under  date  of 
July  13,  "it  must  not  be  expected  that  the 
Russians  will  be  able  to  rush  in  a  few  days 
positions  which  are  unquestionably  stronger 
than  any  since  the  enemy  departed  from  his 
first  line  before  Rovno.     Up  to  this  time  the 


bIy3h    BL          E 

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5s$sk  ^BtL  1411155 

I    '.    t£J*-  \\      /.;      ,«,              '     ft     -«.                .'.'- 

*»ysL^K>ir^-J"2»MBBHH«E! 

~  ..j^^ft^yofi^sacMi 

A    TYPE    OF    STRETCHER    FOR    CARRYING    WOUNDED. 


21G 


THE    TIMES    HISTORY    OF    THE    WAR. 


MAP    TO    ILLUSTRATE     GENERAL    SAKHAROFF'S    ADVANCE. 


THE    TIMES    HISTORY    OF    THE    WAR. 


217 


BEHIND    A    FORTIFIED    LINE. 
Russian  officers  outside  a  house  in  an  Austrian  rustic 
village.       Circle  picture :    An  altar  in   the  village. 

enemy  has  certainly  been  out-manoeuvred, 
out-marched,  and  fairly  out-classed  in  all 
particulars."  Now,  however,  the  fighting  re- 
sumed the  character  of  trench  warfare,  resem- 
bling the  battles  of  Baranovitche  and  on  the 
Somme  rather  than  those  fought  in  Volhynia 
and  the  Poliesie  during  the  preceding  five 
weeks. 

A  few  days  after  the  line  of  the  Stokhod  had 
been  reached,  about  the  middle  of  July,  the 
Russian  offensive  began  to  slow  down,  our 
Allies  contenting  themselves  with  repelling 
German  attacks.  At  several  places  even  some 
withdrawals  were  made  from  the  exposed 
positions  on  the  western  bank  of  the  river.  It 
seems  more  than  likely  that  the  statement  of  the 
Russian  Staff  concerning  the  vital  importance 
of  Kovel,  issued  at  the  time  of  the  hottest 
battles  for  the  river-crossing?,  was  really- 
meant  as  a  blind,  to  cover  the  impending 
offensive  of  General  Sakharoff.  It  was  well 
known  to  Russian  Headquarters  that  the 
enemy  was  gathering  considerable  forces  on 
the  southern  flank  of  the  Lutsk  salient.  It 
would  therefore  have  been,  to  say  the  least, 
risky  to  engage  very  considerable  forces  (and 
such   would   have   been   needed   for   a  serious 


offensive  against  Kovel)  in  an  advance  even 
beyond  the  farthest  existing  salients  to  the 
west,  whilst  Bothmer's  army  still  maintained 
its  original  positions  in  the  centre,  and  fresh 
trooops  were  being  concentrated  on  its  northern 
flank,  on  the  Stoyanoff-Brody  front,  for  a 
counter-offensive  against  Lutsk  and  Dubno. 

It  was  not  until  the  operations  on  the  north- 
western border  of  Galicia  were  reaching  their 
victorious  conclusion  that  our  Allies  resumed 
their  offensive  in  northern  Volhynia  and  on  the 
Stokhod.  "  To  the  west  of  Lutsk,"  said  the 
Petrograd  report  of  July  28,  "  our  troops  took 
the  offensive  and  broke  through  the  whole 
first  lino  of  the  enemy,  inflicting  severe  losses 
upon  him.     Our  troops  are  now  advancing,  and 


218 


THE    TIMES    HISTORY    OF    THE    WAR. 


our  cavalry  is  pursuing  the  fleeing  enemy. 
In  this  district  we  have  captured  46  guns 
(including  G  howitzers),  6  machine-guns,  about 
50  officers  (including  2  generals  and  2  com- 
manders of  regiments),  and  over  9,000  men.  ' 

On  the  Stokhod  itself  the  two  armies  of 
Generals  Lesh  and  Kaledin  opened  their 
offensive  on  July  28,  at  1  o'clock  in  the  after- 
noon. The  first  day's  fighting  proved  extremely 
successful,  resulting  in  important  strategic 
gains,  and  in  the  capture,  within  the  first  hour 
of  the  attack,  of  38  guns,  two  being  heavy  and 
all  German,  and  4,000  (mostly  German) 
prisoners.  In  the  region  of  Gulevitche,  not  far 
from  the  spot  where  the  Kovel-Sarny  railway 
crosses   the   Stokhod,   Russian   troops,    having 


GENERAL    SAKHAROFF, 
Commanded  the  Eleventh  Russian  Army. 

built  bridges,  passed  to  the  left  bank  of  the 
river,  where  they  took  up  strong  positions. 
Similarly  a  crossing  was  again  forced  in  the 
district  of  Kashovka.  The  most  important 
move,  however,  was  made,  and  the  greatest 
success  was  scored,  in  the  direction  of  the 
village  of  Ozeriany,  along  the  head-waters  of 
the  Stokhod,  where  the  river  is  less  wide.  The 
simultaneous  pressure  on  the  entire  front  round 
Kovel  made  it  difficult  for  the  enemy  to  shift 
the  local  reserves  which  he  had  at  his  disposal 
in  that  district.  But  "  on  account  of  the 
extraordinary  nature  of  the  German  defences," 
wrote,  under  date  of  July  29,  the  special  corre- 
spondent of  The  Times,  Mr.  Washburn,  then 
with  Headquarters  on  the  Stokhod  front,  "  we 
must  not  expect  the  Russians  to  run  over  them 
in  a  few  days.  The  results  already  attained 
are  extraordinary,   when  the  strength  of  the 


German  positions  and  the  quantities  of  guns 
and  ammunition  are  considered.  Our  losses 
are  incredibly  small,  viewed  in  the  light  of 
what  has  been  accomplished." 

Even  the  Germans  had  to  acknowledge  the 
signal  success  of  their  opponents,  though  they 
did  so  with  hardly  veiled  annoyance.  "  North- 
west of  Lutsk,"  said  the  Berlin  report  of 
July  29,  "  after  several  unsuccessful  attacks, 
the  enemy  succeeded  in  penetrating  our  lines 
at  Trysten,  and  obliged  us  to  evacuate  the 
positions  we  still  held  in  front  of  the  Stokhod." 
During  the  following  days  the  successes  of 
July  29  were  systematically  developed.  By 
noon  of  July  30 — i.e.,  within  48  hours 
from  the  commencement  of  the  offensive,  the 
number  of  captured  guns  had  risen  to  49,  that 
of  prisoners  to  9,000.  A  desperate  battle  was 
proceeding  at  Gulevitche.  Meantime,  the 
Russian  troops  which  had  crossed  the  Stokhod 
at  Kashovka  extended  their  gains  for  5£  miles 
beyond  the  river,  whilst  on  the  left  bank  the 
movement  was  slowly  swinging  forward  with 
the  village  of  Perehody  for  its  approximate 
axis.  On  July  31  further  captures  of  ground 
and  men  were  made  in  the  bends  of  the  Stokhod. 
At  one  point  the  whole  31st  Honved  Regiment 
was  taken  prisoners  by  our  Allies,  together 
with  their  regimental  commander  and  his 
entire  staff.  As  a  further  illustration  of  the 
enemy's  losses  may  serve  the  fact  that  in  the 
battles  fought  during  the  last  days  of  July  the 
41st  Honved  Division  was  cut  to  4,000,  and  the 
4th  Austrian  Division  to  3,000  men.  No  less 
heavy  were  the  losses  of  the  G  ermans  and  of  the 
Polish  Legions.  And  again  the  Berlin  report 
of  July  30  growled  out  its  unwilling,  distorted 
admissions  : 

"  Army  Group  of  Von  Linsingen. — Enemy 
attacks  in  increased  strength  are  reported. 
With  the  exception  of  some  sectors,  these  at- 
tacks are  now  being  made  on  the  whole  front 
from  Stobychva  to  the  west  of  Berestechko. 
They  all  collapsed  with  gigantic  losses.  .  .  . 
During  the  night  the.  withdrawal,  which  had 
been  planned  for  a  long  time  from  the  Stokhod 
curve,  which  projects  towards  the  east  and 
north  of  the  Kovel-Rovno  railway,  to  a  shorter 
line  was  carried  through  without  interference 
by  the  enemy." 

In  the  first  days  of  August  further  fighting 
took  place  on  the  entire  front — round  Stoby- 
chva, Smoliary,  Gulevitche,  Sitovitche  and 
Syeltse,  down  to  Kisielin,  culminating  on 
August  3-4  in  the  battle  for  Rudka  Mirynska, 


Russian  engineers  repairing  bridges  destroyed  by  the  Austrians.     Centre  picture  : 
Cavalry  crossing  a  hastily  built  bridge. 
ADVANCE    OF    GENERAL    SAKHAROFF'S    TROOPS. 
219 


Russian 


220 


THE    TIMES    HISTORY    OF    THE    WAR. 


a  village  on  the  east  bank  of  the  Stavok  (a  left- 
hand  tributary  of  the  Stokhod).  Having 
reached,  on  August  2,  the  front  Sitovitche- 
Yanovka  within  the  big  bend  of  the  Stokhod, 
our  Allies  proceeded  to  attack  the  next  defen- 
sive line  of  the  enemy.  On  August  3,  before 
dawn,  the  Russian  artillery  opened  a  heavy 
bombardment  of  these  positions.  About  1  p.m. 
Turkestan  regiments  broke  through  the  Austrian 
defences  north  of  Budka  Mirynska,  occupied 
the  hamlets  of  Popovka  and  Yastremiets,  and 
reached  the  Miryn-Poviersk  road.  Then  Rudka 
Mirynska  itself  was  attacked.  The  battle 
developed  into  bayonet  fighting  in  the  streets 
of  the  village,  which  changed  hands  several 
times.  About  4.30  p.m.,  the  enemy  opened  a 
counter-attack  along  the  entire  line.  Bava- 
rians, the  Third  Brigade  of  the  Polish  Legions 
under  Count  Sheptyski,  and  Germans  from 
Lower  Austria  and  Southern  Moravia  belonging 
to  the  army  corps  of  General  von  Fath,  opened 
an  encircling  movement  against  the  Turkestan 
troops  holding  the  village  and  district  of 
Rudka  Mirynska.  A  series  of  enemy  attacks 
were  repulsed.  Finally,  however,  about  3  a.m., 
our  Allies  evacuated  the  salient,  which  the 
village  was  now  forming,  and  fell  back  400-600 
yards  to  the  east. 

The  battle  of  Rudka  Mirynska  closes  the 
second  stage  of  the  fighting  on  the  Stokhod. 
The  result  of  the  week's  operations  consisted  in 
the  river  line  having  been  forced  on  almost  the 


entire  front.  The  enemy  troops  holding  the 
district  had  thus  lost  one  of  their  main  natural 
defensive  lines,  and  a  good  start  had  been 
gained  by  our  Allies  for  an  attack  against 
Kovel,  should  the  developments  in  other  parts 
of  the  line  make  such  a  movement  desirable. 

On  a  level  with  the  greatest  feats  of  the 
armies  of  Generals  Kaledin,  Lechitsky  and  Lesh 
stands  the  offensive  undertaken  in  the  second 
half  of  July  from  the  southern  flank  of  the 
Lutsk  salient  by  General  Sakharoff,  command- 
ing the  Eleventh  Russian  Army,  and  well  known 
from  the  time  of  the  Russo-Japanese  War  as 
Chief  of  General  Kuropatkin's  Staff.  The 
enemy,  in  view  of  the  utter  failure  of  his  offen- 
sive against  Lutsk,  on  the  Kovel-Rozhyshche 
line,  had  decided  in  July  to  make  another 
desperate  attempt  at  driving  in  the  Russian 
salient  in  Volhynia  by  means  of  an  attack  from 
the  south.  A  highly  developed  net  of  roads 
and  railways  radiating  from  Lvoff  in  the  direc- 
tion of  the  Volhynian  frontier  supported  the 
movements  of  his  forces  ;  besides  the  double- 
track  Lvoff-Krasne-Brody  line,  he  had  at  his 
disposal  the  Lvoff-Stoyanoff  and  the  Lvoff- 
Sokal-Vladimir  Volynsk  railways.  In  view  of 
their  superiority  in  communications  the  Austro- 
German  commanders  hoped  to  be  able  to  effect 
a  sudden  concentration  of  men  and  material, 
and  then,  by  a  sharp  flank  attack  against  Lutsk 
and  Dubno,  to  undo  the  results  of  the  preceding 


RUSSIAN    ARTILLERY    ON    THE    WAY   TO    THE    FRONT. 


THE    TIMES    HISTORY    OF    THE    WAR. 


221 


GENERAL    SAKHAROFF'S    ARMY 
A   Russian    General    conducts    an    attack    by  field 
telephone.      Smaller    picture :    The    Russian    Com- 
mander consults   General  Turbin. 

six  weeks  of  Russian  operations  in  Volhynia. 
The  phalanx  of  Linsmgen  and  Boehm-Ermolli 
was  to  include  on  this  front  20  divisions,  and 
July  18  was  the  date  chosen  for  the  opening 
of  this  Austro-German  counter-offensive 

Our  Allies  could  hardly  have  assembled  an 
equal  force  in  such  short  time.  The  movement 
had  therefore  to  be  forestalled  and  frustrated 
by  an  attack  whilst  the  enemy  concentration 
was  still  incomplete.  On  July  15,  south-west 
of  Lutsk  and  Dubno,  the  Austro-German  com- 
manders had  gathered  as  yet  only  some  seven 
infantry  and  four  cavalry  divisions.  Among 
the  infantry  divisions  were  the  7th,  48th  and 
61st  Austro-Hungarian  and  the  22nd,  43rd  and 
108th  German  divisions — the  48th  and  61st 
Austro-Hungarian  divisions  havingbeen  brought 
up  from  the  Trentino,  the  22nd  German  division 
from  the  Dvinsk  front,  and  the  43rd  from  Ver- 
dun. Their  front  extended  from  about  Shklin, 
past  TJgrinoff,  Zlotchevka  and  Mikhailovka 
(sometimes  called  Boremel)  to  Novoselki  on 
the  western  bank  of  the  Styr  ;  on  the  right 
bank  of  the  river  it  stretched  across  the  region 
of  Verben  to  the  Pliaskevka  and  then  in  a 
southerly  direction,  across  fairly  high  wooded 


hills,  to  Radziviloff  on  the  Lvoff-Brody-Rovno 
railway. 

Four  stages  can  be  distinguished  in  the 
offensive  of  General  Sakharoff  which  opened 
during  the  night  of  July  15-16  and  lasted  for 
about  a  month.  The  object  of  the  first  attack 
(July  15-17)  was  to  frustrate  the  offensive  plan 
of  the  enemy  by  deranging  and  destroying  his 
preparations.  The  aim  was  brilliantly  achieved, 
and  the  Austro-German  forces  had  to  fall  back 


222 


THE    TIMES    HISTORY    OF    THE    WAE. 


ENEMY    TRENCHES    IN    VOLHYNIA. 


on  the  line  of  the  Lipa  (a  left-hand  tributary  of 
the  Styr).  Then,  between  July  20-22,  followed 
the  second  battle  which  resulted  in  the  forcing 
of  the  Lipa  and  the  capture  of  Berestechko. 
The  Lutsk  salient,  of  which  the  enemy  had 
planned  to  drive  in  the  left  flank  by  means  of  a 
thrust  from  the  south,  was  rapidly  extending  up 
the  western  bank  of  the  Styr.  The  battle  for 
Brody  which  opened  on  July  25  and  closed  with 
the  fall  of  that  town  on  July  28  formed  the 
third  stage  of  the  offensive.  The  fourth  and  last 
step  in  General  Sakharoff  's  advance  came  as  the 
result  of  an  attack  against  the  Brody-Zalostse- 
Vorobiyovka  front.  The  victories  gained  on  that 
iine  brought  his  forces  into  the  direct  neighbour- 
hood of  the  Lvoff-Krasne-Tarnopol  railway,  and 
this,  in  conjunction  with  General  Lechitsky's 
offensive  against  Stanislavoff,  caused  the  with- 
drawal of  Count  Bothmer's  Army  from  its 
unconquerable  positions  on  the  Sereth -Strypa 
line. 

On  July  15  a  minor  engagement  was  fought 
on  the  Sviniukhy  and  the  Ostroff-Gubin  front 
with  results  favourable  to  our  Allies.  On 
the  same  day,  at  4  p.m.,  began  the  Russian 
bombardment  on  the  entire  Bludoff-Shklin- 
Zlotchevka  front.  The  night  which  followed  was 
wet  and  rainy,  and  as  the  fire  was  distributed 
in  equal  voliune  all  along  the  line,  the  enemy  does 


not  seem  at  first  to  have  taken  any  alarm  as  to 
what  was  coming.   Soon  afterwards  the  Russian 
artillery  commenced,  in  its  usual  style,  cutting 
breaches    in   the   barbed   wire    entanglements. 
Thus,    for    instance,    in    front    of    a    Siberian 
army  corps   which   had   achieved  world  fame 
in  the  battle  on  the  Bzura  in  January,   1915, 
and  was  now  to  play  a  leading  part  in  the 
attack,  the  Russian  guns  had  cut  by  midnight 
10    avenues,     each     approximately     20    paces 
broad.     The    attack    was    timed    for    3    a.m. 
The   chief  blow  was  struck   from   Shklin  and 
Ugrinoff  in  a  due  southerly  direction.      Wading 
under  the  machine-gun  and  rifle  fire  in  water 
and  marsh  above  their  waists,  often   to  their 
armpits,    the   Russians   crossed  the   river   and 
forced  the  Austrian  and  German  positions  on 
its  southern  bank.     At  the  same  time,  in  the 
angle  between  the  Styr  and  the  Lower  Lipa,  an 
attack  was  delivered  in  a  westerly  direction. 
In    an    interview   with    the    Petrograd    Corre- 
spondent of  The   Times,  on  July   22,   General 
Alexeieff,  Chief  of  the  Russian  Staff,  made  the 
following  comment  on  the  first  stage  of  General 
Sakharoff'.s     offensive  :       "  General     Sakharoff 
accomplished     a     brilliant     feat     of     arms     on 
July   16  at   the  expense  of  the  48th  and  61st 
Austrian    Divisions.      Pivoting    his    army    on 
Bludoff  he  manoeuvred  on  the  enemy's  flank, 


THE    TIMES    HISTORY    OF    THE    WAR. 


223 


shepherding  the  Austrians  and  driving  them  in 
full  rout  during  the  night  a  distance  of  nearly 
seven  miles  ;  he  badly  mauled  the  22nd  German 
Division,  transferred  from  the  Dvinsk  front, 
and  also  the  above-mentioned  43rd  Division, 
which  tried  to  save  the  hard-pressed  soldiers  of 
the  Archduke  Joseph-Ferdinand.  The  latest 
accounts  show  that  General  Sakharoff  is 
developing  his  success  with  extraordinary 
rapidity  and  is  crossing  the  two  rivers  in  pursuit 
of  the  foe." 

No  less  important  than  from  the  strategic 
point  of  view  was  the  victory  on  the  Mikhailovka 
front  when  measured  in  terms  of  captures  of 
men  and  material.  As  the  enemy  had  been 
preparing  in  that  region  for  a  big  offensive,  his 
accumulation  of  stores  proved  enormous. 
Every  peasant's  hut  was  stacked  with  shells 
and  small-arm  ammunition,  while  huge  supplies 
were  accumulated  in  all  the  important  villages. 
Of  the  three  biggest  ammunition  stores  captured 
by  the  Russians  on  July  16,  one  alone  contained 
35,570  projectiles  of  different  calibres,  5,230 
grenades,  and  an  enormous  quantity  of  car- 
tridges, as  well  as  three  searchlights,  a  band,  a 
military  tailoring  depot,  field  kitchens,  and  a 
large  quantity  of  barbed  wire,  telephone  wire, 


and  other  war  material.  On  the  same  day  317 
officers  (including  two  commanders  of  regiments 
with  one  entire  regimental  staff)  and  12,037 
men  were  taken  prisoners,  and  30  guns  (of 
which  17  were  of  heavy  calibre — 4-inch  and 
9-inch),  49  machine  guns  and  36  bomb  and 
mine-throwers  were  captured.  Some  of  the ' 
heavy  guns  were  in  perfect  condition  and  could 
almost  immediately  be  turned  against  their  late 
owners.  The  counter-attacks  meantime  under- 
taken by  the  Germans  on  the  western  flank,  in 
the  Zviniany-Elizaroff  region,  proved  of  no  avail. 
And  again  Vienna  made  its  acknowledgment 
of  defeat — with  its  inevitable  compliments  to 
the  saving  Germans  and  its  customary  lies  con- 
cerning Russian  numbers  and  the  character  of 
their  own  retreat.  "To  the  south-west  of 
Lutsk,"  says  the  Austrian  official  communique 
of  July  17,  "  the  Russians  attacked  with 
superior  forces.  The  front  sector  near  Shklin 
withdrew  into  the  district  to  the  east  of  Coro- 
khoff.  Covered  on  the  western  flank  by  a 
counter-attack  delivered  by  German  bat- 
talions, the  allied  troops  fighting  to  the  south 
of  Lutsk  were  thereupon  withdrawn  behind 
the  Lipa  without  being  disturbed  by  the 
enemy." 


WITH    GENERAL    SAKHAROFF'S    ARMY. 
Dawn  on  the  battlefield  :   Russian  and  Austrian  wounded. 


224 


THE    TIMES    HISTORY    OF    THE    WAR. 


The  heavy  rains  about  the  middle  of  July 
tlireatened  to  put  serious  obstacles  in  the  way 
of  a  further  Russian  advance  ;  the  rivers  were 
rising  and  the  marshes  were  becoming  almost 
impassable.  Still  General  Sakharoff  pressed 
forward  his  advance,  and  that  across  most 
difficult  ground,  at  points  where  it  was  least 
expected.  It  was  on  historic  fields  that  the 
second  battle  of  his  offensive  was  fought 
on  July  20-22  Previous  to  the  eighteenth 
century  the  Crimean  Tartars,  emerging  from 
the  Wild  Fields  of  Southern  Russia,  used  to 
invade  periodically  the  Ukraina,  Podolia  and 
even  Volhynia.  Crossing  the  Dnieper  at  the 
so-called  Tartars'  Ford,  they  followed  certain 
regular  paths.  One  of  their  main  roads — 
named  the  Black  Route — led  past  Loshnioff 
(about  half-way  between  Berestechko  and 
Brody).  In  1651  they  were  advancing  along 
that  road  as  allies  of  the  Cossacks,  who  since 
1648  had  risen  in  arms  against  the  attempts  of 
the  Polish  magnates  and  gentry  to  convert  into 
serfs  them,  the  free  peasants  of  the  Ukrain?, 
On  the  fields  of  Berestechko  their  armies  were 
defeated  by  the  Poles  under  King  John  Casimir. 

This  time  it  was  a  vanquishing  army  which 
was  advancing  on  Berestechko.  The  Russian 
attack  was  carried  out  on  concentric  lines,  the 
pincers  closing  in  from  the  north  and  from  the 
east,  across  the  Lipa  south  of  Mikhailovka  and 


across  the  Styr,  south-west  of  Verben.  On  the 
Lipa,  having  once  overcome  the  difficulties  of 
crossing  the  marshy  valley  under  concentrated 
fire,  the  Russian  troops  broke  fairly  easily 
through  the  Austrian  front.  On  the  Styr, 
having  dislodged  the  enemy  from  the  village 
of  Verben  and  from  the  organized  works  south 
of  it,  General  Sakharoff's  troops  routed  the 
Austrians,  intercepting  big  numbers  of  the 
demoralized  enemy.  Thus — e.g.t  between  Ver- 
ben and  Pliashevo,  on  the  right  bank  of  the 
Styr,  south  of  its  confluence  with  the  Lipa — the 
entire  13th  Austrian  Landwehr  Regiment  was 
surrounded  and  captured.  With  their  moral 
fallen  to  such  a  low  level,  the  Austrians  could 
no  longer  offer  any  serious  resistance. 

The  Styr  was  crossed  by  the  Russians  on  the 
same  day,  and  after  a  short  fight  on  the  sur- 
rounding heights  our  Allies  entered  the  town 
of  Berestechko.*  In  this  battle  fell  Colonel 
Tataroff,  the  conqueror  of  Kozin  f  ;  wounded 
in  the  heart  by  a  shrapnel  bullet,  he  exclaimed, 
"  I  am  killed,"  and  then  by  a  supreme  effort 
got  up,  and  with  his  last  breath  gave  the  word 
of  command  :  "  Regiment — Charge  !  " 

By  the  end  of  the  next  day  (July  21)  the 
defeat    of    General   von   Boehm-Ermolli's   left 

*  The  town  of  Berestechko  was  known  in  the  16th 
century  as  an  important  centre  of  the  Polish  Unitarians, 
the  so-called  Socinians. 

t  Ci.  Chapter  CXXXVII.,  p.  26. 


AN    AUSTRIAN    BOMB-PROOF    TELEPHONE    SHELTER. 


THE    TIMES    HISTORY    OF    THE    WAR. 


225 


COLONEL    TATAROFF. 

The  Russian  officer,  who  on  the  Styr,  was  wounded 
in  the  heart  by  a  shrapnel  bullet.  Before  dying  he 
gave  his  last  word  of  command  :  Regiment — Charge  I 

wing  was  complete.  The  Russians,  having 
captured  in  these  two  days  more  than  300 
officers  and  12,000  men,  were  on  both  sides  of 
the  Styr  closing  in  against  the  Galician  frontier. 
General  Sakharoffs  offensive  was  changed  in 
character  and  direction.  All  danger  of  an 
enemy  attempt  against  the  Lutsk  salient  from 
the  south  was  now  gone,  its  line  was  improved 
and  its  left  flank  covered.  General  Sakharoffs 
operations  which  had  begun  as  a  movement  in 
defence  of  the  convex  Russian  line  in  Volhynia, 
passed,  after  the  first  task  had  been  accom- 
plished, into  a  flank  attack  against  the  Austro- 
German  centre  on  the  Strypa-Sereth  line. 
The  offensive  now  developed  south-east  of  the 
Styr,  on  Galician  ground,  and  was  directed 
against  the  Brody-Zalostse-Vorobiyovka  front. 
By  July  22  the  fate  of  Brody  was  sealed. 
The  military  hospitals  were  cleared.  The 
Austrian  authorities  began  to  evacuate  the 
town.  The  post  office  left  on  July  25.  On 
the  same  day  "  evacuation  trains "  were 
placed  at  the  disposal  of  the  civilian  popu- 
lation. Stores  were  removed.  In  short,  pro- 
fiting from  their  vast  experience  in  retreats, 
the  Austrians  were  carrying  out  this  one  in  a 
most  systematic  manner.  Indeed,  the  evacua- 
tion was  so    thorough    that   during  the  next 


days  whatever  population  had  remained  behind 
was  in  danger  of  starvation,  as  no  sufficient 
stores  had  been  left  for  them.  The  following 
is  the  description  given  by  an  eye-witness  of 
the  last  days  in  Brody  :  "  The  town  is  empty. 
Of  its  20,000  inhabitants  hardly  6,000  are  left. 
Few  civilians  are  seen  in  the  streets,  and  all 
traffic  ceases  early  at  night.  The  shops  are 
closed,  the  public  gardens,  crowded  a  short 
time  ago,  are  now  deserted  and  forsaken.  The 
battle-front  is  but  a  few  miles  out  of  Brody, 
and  so  the  roar  of  the  guns  is  deafening.  The 
nights  are  frightful,  no  one  can  shut  an  eye. 
There  is  some  kind  of  new  Russian  guns  of  a  big 
calibre  ;  when  these  start  booming,  mirrors  and 
pictures  fall  off  the  walls,  the  window-panes 
clatter  like  mad,  and  the  houses  shake  as  in  an 
earthquake.  One  can  also  clearly  hear  in  the 
town  the  continuous  rattle  of  machine-guns  ; 
the  voices  of  war  and  the  breath  of  death 
reach  the  town  and  pass  even  beyond  it.  .  .   . 

"  Austrian  captive  balloons  continually  soar 
above  the  town.  Frequently  we  hear  the 
rattling  of  Russian  aeroplanes,  which  recon- 
noitre the  entire  district ;  some  of  the  aviators 
are  French  or  British.  .  .  ." 

Tho  last  two  "  evacuation  trains  "  left  Brody 
late  at  night  on  Thursday,  July  27.  Of  these 
one  passed  through  Lvoff  on  Friday  at  1  p.m., 
the  other  remained  throughout  the  day  in  a 
little  station  on  the  road,  waiting  for  orders 
where  to  take  the  unfortunate  "  evacuated." 
Although  the  Austrian  Government  is  very 
particular  to  carry  away  all  population  which 
might  be  of  any  use  to  the  Russians,  or  show 


Heights in  Metres. 


MAKUTRA^  -'/ 


THE    BRODY    FRONT. 


226 


THE    TIMES    HISTORY    OF    THE    WAR. 


sympathies  lor  the  "  enemy  cause,"  it  is 
much  less  careful  about  their  future.  The 
barracks  for  Galician  "  refugees  "  at  Chocnia 
will  for  all  time  remain  one  of  the  most  out- 
standing examples  of  the  criminal  indolence 
and  thoughtlessness  of  the  Austrian  bureau- 
cracy. "  They  are  built  in  a  marshy  region," 
writes  the  Cracow  daily  Glos  Narodu  of 
August  0,  191(5,  "where  there  is  no  good 
drinking  water  available.  The  barracks  were 
hastily  constructed  and  do  not  answer  the 
requirements  of  hygiene.  In  fact,  it  is  diffi- 
cult to  speak  of  hygiene  when  500  or  more 
people  have  to  live  in  a  dark  hut,  which 
can  hardly  be  properly  heated  m  winter, 
and  where  vermin  of  all  kinds  has  taken  up 
for  good  its  abode."  The  Austrian  censor- 
ship has  never  allowed  the  statistics  of  mor- 
tality at  Chocnia  to  be  published,  but  it 
can  be  learned  from  a  statement  made  in 
June,  1916,  by  Count  Lasocki  to  the  Austrian 
Minister  of  the  Interior,  and  printed,  though 
with  deletions  by  the  censor,  in  the  Glos  Narodu 
of  July  3,  that  1,300  cases  of  death  had  oc- 
curred in  the  camp  harbouring  an  average  of 
5,000  refugees.  In  July,  1910,  typhus  was  no 
longer    prevalent,     but    typhoid     and    scarlet 


fever  and  small-pox  were  still  claiming  scores 
of  victims.  Into  that  camp  hundreds  of  fresh 
"  evacuated  "  were  moved  in  the  course  of  the 
month. 

The  following  was  the  disposition  of  the 
enemy  defences  round  Brocly  on  the  night  of 
July  24 — i.e.,  on  the  eve  of  the  Russian  offen- 
sive against  the  town  :  His  left  flank  rested 
on  the  Styr,  near  its  junction  with  the  Slonovka 
(about  two  miles  north-east  of  Loshnioff). 
Here  it  was  perfectly  safe  against  any  possible 
attempts  at  outflanking  from  the  west.  The 
corner  between  the  Styr  and  the  Slonovka 
is  an  impassable  marsh  several  miles  wide. 
South  of  it,  on  the  Upper  Styr,  between 
Loshnioff  and  the  Brody-Lvoff  railway, 
stretches  a  forest,  about  15  miles  long  and 
about  12  miles  wide.  This  forest  could  not 
have  been  crossed  without  long  and  elaborate 
preparations,  and  even  then,  in  view  of  the 
complete  absence  of  good  roads,  this  could 
have  only  been  done  at  a  very  slow  rate.  East 
of  the  Styr  the  enemy  positions  followed  up 
to  about  Batkoff  the  line  of  the  river  Slonovka 
(in  its  upper  course,  above  its  junction  with 
the   Sitenka,    called    Sestratyn).     The   wooded 


FROM    THE    AUSTRIAN    ENTRENCHMENTS. 
Bursting  of  a  shell:     Russian  infantrymen  taking  cover  in  the  long  grass. 


THE    TIMES    HISTORY    OF    THE    WAR 


227 


THE    RUSSIAN    ADVANCE:    EXAMINING    GERMAN    PRISONERS. 


heights  round  the  village  of  Butchina,*  at  the 
headwaters  of  the  Ikva,  formed  on  the  right 
flank  the  corner  bastion  of  the  enemy  positions, 
which  thus  stretched  from  north-west  to  south- 
east for  about  10  miles  on  each  side  of 
Brody. 

The  positions  in  front  of  Brody  themselves 
were  very  strong  by  nature.  Everywhere  the 
broad  belt  of  dangerous  marshes  on  both  sides 
of  the  Slonovka-Sestratyn  river  formed  the 
first  line  of  defence.  South  of  Loshnioff,  the 
entire  space  between  the  Slonovka  and  the 
parallel  stream  of  the  Boldurka  is  filled  by  the 
forest  called  Gaydzisko  ;  on  its  south-western 
flank  extend  the  marshes  of  the  Boldurka, 
more  than  a  mile  wide.  And  again,  between 
Height  238  (north-west  of  the  Brody-Radzi- 
viloff  high  road)  and  the  village  of  Gaye 
Dytkovietskie  f  extends  another  forest  as 
long  as,  though  narrower  than,  the  Forest 
Gaydzisko.  Thus  there  are  only  two  gaps  in 
this  belt  of  forests,  one  north-west,  the  other 
south-west  of  Brody.  In  the  north-western 
gap,  about  three  and  a  half  miles  wide,  lie  the 

*  The  Makutra,  Mogila,  etc.  Their  average  height  is 
about  1,200  feet,  and  they  rise  about  400  feet  above  the 
ground  north-east  of  them  and  about  700  feet  above  the 
level  of  the  Sestratyn  valley. 

t  The  name  itself  of  this  settlement^GayeDytkoviet- 
ekie— means  "  the  Woods  of  Dytkovtse." 


three  villages  of  Shniroff,  Klekotoff  and 
Opariptse,  which  were  to  be  the  scene  of  the 
severest  fighting  in  the  battle  for  Brody. 
Between  Shniroff  and  Klekotoff  lies  a  wood 
called  Volanik.  The  southern  gap,  at  the  foot 
of  the  Makutra  Height,  is  hardly  a  mile  wide, 
and  may  best  be  denoted  by  the  name  of  the 
adjoining  hamlet  of  Vieselova. 

July  25,  1.30  a.m.  Petrograd  time — i.e., 
3  a.m.  Central  European  summer  time — marked 
the  beginning  of  the  battle  for  Brody.  The 
Russian  attack  proceeded  in  three  directions  : 
against  Loshnioff,  against  the  Klekotoff- 
Opariptse  front,  and  against  the  Vieselova 
line.  The  most  serious  of  the  three  was  the 
attempt  in  the  centre,  striking  directly  at 
Brody  ;  the  other  two  movements  aimed 
merely  at  outflanking  the  key  of  the  enemy's 
positions,  the  fortified  heights  of  Klekotoff 
AYhilst  in  the  centre  several  hours  of  bombard 
ment  preceded  the  infantry  attacks,  in  the 
sector  of  Loshnioff  the  Russian  batteries  did 
not  open  fire  until  the  infantry  had  reached 
the  southern  bank  of  the  Slonovka.  Unseen 
by  the  Austrians,  soon  after  dark,  the  Russians 
had  laid  a  causeway  across  the  swamps  among 
the  reeds  of  the  valley,  and  the  first  line  of 
Austrian  trenches  south  of  Loshnioff,  on  the 
left    bank    of    the    Slonovka,    was    carried    by 


228 


THE    TIMES    HISTORY    OF    THE    WAR. 


surprise.  By  the  morning  our  Allies  had 
captured  the  fortified  village  of  Lasovo,  *  in 
the  north-eastern  corner  of  the  forest  Gay- 
dzisko.  But  inside  the  forest  the  Austrians 
held  strong  fortified  lines,  which  enabled  their 
beaten  forces  to  withdraw  beyond  the  river 
Boldurka,  though  not  without  heavy  losses  in 
guns  and  prisoners.  Only  the  south-eastern 
part  of  the  forest,  on  the  line  of  the  Heights 
246  and  219,  remained  in  the  hands  of  the 
enemy. 

On  the  other  flank,  near  Batkoff,  where  the 
valley  of  the  Sestratyn  is  very  narrow,  the  first 
step — the  crossing — did  not  present  any  serious 
difficulties,  but  the  further  advance  was  exceed- 
ingly slow  work ;  the  country  round  was 
dominated  by  the  heavy  Austrian  batteries  on 
the  Makutra. 

In  the  centre  the  Russian  infantry  opened 
in  the  early  morning  an  attack  against  the 
Opariptse  front.  The  town  of  Radziviloff  and 
the  surrounding  forests  on  the  Russian  side 
offered  the  attacking  troops  favourable  con- 
*  "  Lasovo  "  means  the  "  village  in  the  forest." 


ditions  for  approaching  the  river.  Here, 
however,  they  had  to  face  most  serious  diffi 
culties.  On  the  northern  side,  in  front  of 
Shniroff  and  Klekotoff,  the  marshes  are  too 
wide  to  be  crossed  ;  and  in  the  more  favourable 
sector  in  the  south  almost  the  entire  front  is 
taken  up  by  the  village  of  Opariptse,  which 
had  been  strongly  fortified  by  the  enemy. 
(Opariptse,  and  the  village  of  Berlin  on  the 
Boldurka  north  of  Brody,  were  originally 
German  settlements,  and  are  not  clustered 
villages  of  the  Slav  type,  but  are  laid  out  as  a 
single  long  street  of  substantial,  well-built 
homesteads.  Opariptse  is  about  a  mile  and  a 
half  long.) 

One  Russian  attack  against  Opariptse  fol- 
lowed the  other  ;  many  of  them  broke  down 
under  the  intense  fire  of  the  enemy's  artillery 
and  machine-guns.  Whenever  our  Allies  suc- 
ceeded in  gaining  a  foothold  on  the  Austrian 
side,  the  enemy,  with  a  total  disregard  of 
losses,  delivered  desperate  counter-attacks. 
Many  of  the  best  troops  of  General  von  Boehm- 
Ermolli's   army  were   engaged — Magyar,  Vicn- 


THE    DESERTED    BATTLEFIELD. 
Austrian  trenches  and  dug-outs  captured  by  the   Russians  during  the  great  advance. 


THE    TIMES    HISTORY    OE    THE    WAR. 


•229 


FOR  CONSPICUOUS  BRAVERY. 
Cossack  troops  quartered  in  the  late  Austrian 
Custom  House,  ltskani,  Bukovina.  The  Cossack 
on  the  left  was  thrice  decorated  for  bravery. 
Smaller  picture :  Russian  soldiers  receiving  the 
Cross  of  St.   George  on  the  battlefield. 

nese,  Bosnian  and  Galician  regiments  fought 
in  the  battle  for  Brody.  Opariptse  was  not 
taken  until  the  sixth  Russian  attack.  Yet 
even  this  success  was  no  more  than  a  first 
step  :  our  Allies  had  merely  obtained  a  safe 
crossing  of  the  Sestratyn.  Even  now  they 
stood  only  at  the  foot  of  the  hills  which  extend 
from  Klekotoff  to  Height  238,  and  which 
formed  the  main  Austrian  line  of  defence. 

But  at  this  stage  help  came  from  the  division 
which  had  crossed  the  Slonovka,  at  Loshnioff, 
and  had  been  working  its  way  through  the 
Forest  Gaydzisko.  Advancing  step  by  step, 
they  emerged  from  the  forest  and  captured 
the  village  of  Shniroff.  On  the  morning  of 
July  27  the  Austrian  line  of  defence  followed 
the  Boldurka  as  far  as  the  village  of  Bielavtse  ; 
from  here  it  extended  through  the  forest  of 
Volanik  to  Klekotoff  ;  from  Klekotoff,  along 
the  range  of  hills  facing  Opariptse  to  Height 
238,  and  the  forest  on  both,  sides  of  the  Brody- 
RadzivilofT  road  and  railway.  The  Russian 
infantry  continued  on  July  27  its  attacks 
against  the  positions  above  Opariptse,  the 
enemy  counter-attacking  immediately  when- 
ever any  gain  was  effected.  At  5  p.m.  our 
Allien  had   captiv»d  the  main  positions  south 


of  Klekotoff.  Still  the  Austrians  did  not  give 
up  the  game  for  lost.  One  of  the  best  Magyar 
regiments  was  ordered  to  counter-attack. 
But  whilst  this  movement  was  developing,  all 
of  a  sudden  Russian  troops  appeared  on  the 
left  flank  and  in  the  rear  of  the  attacking 
Magyars.  Our  Allies  had  forced  their  way 
through   the   Forest   Volanik.     The    Klekotoff 


280 


THE    TIMES    HISTORY    OF    THE    WAR. 


AFTER    CZERNOVITZ. 
Hire  engines  from   the  Railway  Station,   Czernovitz,  being  conveyed  across  the  Rumanian  frontier. 


positions  were  lost  to  the  enemy.  About  the 
same  time  the  Russian  forces  began  to  emerge 
from  the  forest  near  the  village  of  Gaye 
Dytkovietslrie.  These  two  movements  decided 
the  battle  for  Brody.  Throughout  the  night 
rearguard  actions  were  still  continued  by  the 
enemy  on  the  heights  and  in  the  forests  and 
villages  north  of  the  town.  On  July  28,  at 
0.30  a.m.,  our  Allies  entered  Brody  for  the  third 
time  during  the  War,  after  almost  a  year  of 
Austrian  occupation.*  "The  plan  for  General 
Sakharoff's  offensive  against  Brody,"  wrote 
the  special  correspondent  of  The  Times,  Mr. 
Washburn,  under  date  of  July  28,  "  was  laid 
out  on  a  schedule.  I  have  watched  every 
phase  of  it,  and  it  has  moved  without  a  single 
hitch,  and  Brody  has  been  taken  within  24 
hours  of  the  exact  time  planned  by  the  General 
when  he  began  the  movement  two  weeks  ago. 
I  think  that  this  represents  one  of  the  most 
remarkable  achievements  of  the  war,  for  even 


*  Russian  cavalry  entered  Brody  for  the  first  time  oh 
August  14,  1914,  but  had  to  withdraw  on  August  18. 
Two  days  later  our  Allies  re-entered  the  town,  and 
remained  there  until  September  2,  1915.  From  Sep- 
tember, 1915,  till  June,  1916,  the  headquarters  of  the 
Second  Austro-Hungarian  Army  under  General,  von 
Boehm-Ermolli  were  at  Brody. 


the  clever  Germans  have  never  been  able  to 
keep  their  movements  up  to  schedule  time." 

During  the  three  days  of  fighting  for  Brody 
(July  25-28),  General  Sakharoff's  troops  took 
prisoners  210  officers  and  13,569  soldiers, 
besides  capturing  a  great  amount  of  arms  and 
ammunition.  The  total  of  their  captures  since 
July  16  amounted  now  to  940  officers,  39,152 
men,  49  guns  (17  of  heavy  calibre),  and  an 
enormous  amount  of  other  booty. 

With  the  fall  of  Brody  opens  the  last  stage 
of  General  Sakharoff's  offensive.  On  a  front 
of  about  50  miles  his  army  was  facing  the 
Krasne-Zlochoff-Tarnopol  line,  the  best-built 
railway  in  Eastern  Galicia,  and  the  most  im- 
portant line  of  communication  in  the  rear  of 
Count  Bothmer's  Army.  A  distance  varying 
from  about  10  miles  in  the  region  of  Zalostse  to 
about  20  miles  round  Brody  intervened  between 
that  railway  and  the  Russian  troops.  To 
break  through  along  the  Brody-Krasne  railway 
would  have  proved  a  practically  impossible 
task.  Hardly  any  roads  lead  across  the  wide 
marshes  and  through  the  forests  which  extend 
round  the  head-waters  of  the  Bug  and  Styr. 
Moving    along    the    railway    from    Brody    to 


THE     TIMES    HISTORY    OF    THE    WAR. 


231 


Krasne,  one  passes  in  the  first  12  miles  hamlets, 
■woods,  and  fields  bearing  these  names  :  "  Near 
the  ponds,"   "on  the  islands,"   "in  the  mud," 
"in     the     hollows,"     "  behind     the    swamp," 
"  behind  the  mud,"  "  the  great  island,"  "  the  old 
pond,"  "  next  to  the  swamp."  No  wonder,  then, 
that  the  road  avoids  that  district,   and  runs 
further  east  past  Sukhodoly  ("  dry  valley  ")  and 
Podhortse  ( "next  to  the  mountain").    This,  the 
only    first-class    high-road    running    from    the 
frontier  of  Volhynia  and  Galieia  to  the  Krasne- 
Tarnopol    railway — namely,     from    Brody    to 
Zlochoff — keeps   to   the   north-western  side   of 
the  ridge  which  forms  the  watershed  between 
the  Bug,  the  Styr,  and  the  Sereth — i.e.,  between 
the  basins  of  the  Vistula,  the  Dnieper,  and  the 
Dniester.     The  road  from  Brody,  which  encir- 
cles that  ridge  from  the  east,  has  its  terminus 
at  Pieniaki.     These  two  roads  were  the  only 
lines    of    communication    at    the    disposal    of 
General    Sakharoff's    forces    in    their    advance 
against    the    left    flank    of    Count    Bothmer's 
Army. 

Still,  even  these  roads  could  be  used  only 
to  a  very  limited  extent.  In  the  triangle 
Brody  -  Krasne  -  Tarnopol  all  the  numerous 
marshy  rivers  flow  north-west  and  south- 
east— i.e.,  parallel  to  the  Brody-Tarnopol 
side  of  the  triangle,  and  all  the  ridges  (except 
the  irregular  heights  of  the  watershed)  follow 
the  same  direction.  An  attack,  cutting  this 
series  of  strong  defensive  lines  at  right  angles, 
was  perfectly  unthinkable.  Hence  General 
Sakharoff  had  to  adopt  a  different  plan. 
From  Brody  he  moved  his  army  across 
the  heights  round  the  watershed  on  to 
the  Podkamien-Pieniaki  line  (and  also  for 
about  two  or  three  miles  south-west  of 
Pieniaki),  whilst  in  the  direction  of  the  Krasne- 
Tarnopol  railway  he  advanced  only  as  much  as 
was  necessary  to  cover  the  flank  of  the  forces 
on  the  Pieniaki-Podkamien  front.  The  forces 
on  that  front  stood  with  their  flank  to  the 
Krasne-Tarnopol  railway,  but  as  this  railway 
cuts  the  upper  valleys  of  the  Strypa  and  Sereth 
and  their  confluents,  a  movement  down  these 
valleys  was  bound,  if  successful,  to  strike 
at  the  railway  in  the  rear  of  Count  Bothmer's 
positions,  which  faced  Tarnopol  on  the  Voro- 
biyovka-GIadki  line. 

General  Sakharoff's  strategy  seems  to  have 
taken  the  Austro-German  commanders  by 
surprise.  They  had  withstood  for  many 
months  attacks  from  the  north-east,  on  the 
Zalostse-Novo   Alexiniets  line.     They  did  not 


expect  an  offensive  moving  parallel  to  their 
basic  lines.  Especially  unlikely  did  such  a 
movement  appear  in  view  of  the  obstacles  which 
it  had  to  encounter  on  the  Nushche-Zagozhe 
front.  A  transversal  depression  cutting  the 
lines  of  the  ridges  and  streams  marks  there  the 
border  line  between  the  wooded  district  of 
Brody  and  the  more  open  coimtry  round 
Tarnopol.  The  hollows  in  that  depression  form 
a  string  of  small  lakes  ;  these  are  as  the  base 
of  a  trident,  of  which  the  three  arms  are  the 
Sereth  on  the  left,  the  Graberka  in  the  centre, 
and  the  Seretets  on  the  right.  Three  streams 
unite  in  the  lake  of  Ratyshche,  and  from  here 
flow  as  the  River  Sereth  in  a  south-easterly 
direction,  through  the  lakes  of  Zalostse,  past 
Gladki  towards  Tarnopol. 

On  August  4  General  Sakharoff  opened  liis 
offensive  against  the  Nushche-Zagozhe  front. 
Following  the  Graberka  from  Pieniaki  the 
Russians  advanced  against  the  village  Zvizhyn. 
The  Atistrians  offered  absolutely  desperate 
resistance  on  ground  on  which,  had  it  been 
properly  fortified  and  held,  probably  any  attacks 
might  have  been  resisted.  Our  Allies,  however, 
did  not  leave  them  the  time  to  repair  their 
mistakes.  Their  advance  was  most  impetuous  ; 
by  the  night  of  August  5  they  had  carried  in 
bayonet  charges  the  villages  of  Zvizhyn, 
Mezhdygory,  Ratyshche,  Gnidava  and  Chysto- 
pady,  whilst  another  Russian  force  broke 
through  from  the  eastern  flank  across  the 
Zalostse  line.  The  victory  was  decisive. 
Although  the  Germans  were  now  throwing 
in  reinforcements  in  great  numbers,  they 
could  merely  delay,  but  never  more  reverse, 
the  movement.  On  August  6  our  Allies 
occupied  the  villages  of  Renioff  and  Trost- 
sianiets  Vielki.  The  number  of  prisoners 
captured  by  the  Russians  in  the.  three  days  of 
fighting,  August  4-6,  by  itself  gives  an  idea  of 
the  size  and  success  of  those  operations  :  they 
captured  166  officers  and  8,415  men. 

Their  advance  continued  past  Neterpintse, 
Nosovtse  and  Vertelka.  On  August  10  they 
reached  the  outskirts  of  the  village  of  Neste- 
rovtse,  only  about  four  miles  north-west  of  the 
Gladki- Vorobiyovka  line.  The  northern  end 
of  Count  Bothmer's  positions  on  the  Sereth- 
Strypa  front  was  outflanked  and  even  turned. 
The  eleventh  hour  had  struck  for  the  retreat 
of  his  army — especially  as  south  of  the  Dniester 
General  Lechitsky  was  threatening  to  cut  off 
his  line  of  communication  along  the  Trans- 
versal Railway. 


•232 


THE    TIMES    HISTORY    OF    THE    WAR. 


THE    AUSTRIAN    RETREAT:     RELICS    ON    THE    BATTLEFIELD. 


By  June  23  the  Ninth  Russian  Army  under 
General  Lechitsky  had  practically  completed 
the  conquest  of  the  Bukovina.  In  the  west  it 
had  already  crossed  the  Galician  frontier,  on 
the  border  of  Transylvania  it  had  advanced 
within  short  distance  of  the  main  passes.  It 
was  not,  however,  the  occupation  of  the 
Bukovina  itself,  but  its  further  consequences, 
which  were  of  the  greatest  account  from  the 
strategic  point  of  view.  The  Bukovinian 
border  is  the  most  open  and  most  vulnerable 
frontier  of  Rumania  Most  of  the  Bukovina 
forms  not  merely  linguistically,  but  also  geo- 
graphically, an  integral  part  of  Rumania.  In 
the  Bukovinian  mountains  lie  the  sources  of 
the  three  most  important  rivers  of  Moldavia, 
the  Sereth,  the  Moldava,  and  the  Bystrytsa. 
Their  valleys  are  so  many  gates  opening  to  the 
south  ;  important  roads  and  railways  lead  along 
these  rivers  into  Rumania.  Of  all  the  belli- 
gerent States,  Rumania,  if  she  intervened, 
would  have  in  proportion  to  her  size  and 
population  by  far  the  longest  frontier.  Hence 
it  was  of  considerable  importance  to  her  that 
the  gates  into  Moldavia  should  be  secured 
before  she  entered  the  war.  Moreover,  the 
Russian  advance  into  the  Carpathian  passes 
on     the     north-eastern     frontier     of     Hungary 


was  certain  to  assist  her  considerably  in  her 
main  task  in  the  War — the  liberation  of 
Transylvania. 

Exactly  those  factors  which  made  the 
strategic  importance  of  the  Bukovina  for 
Rumania  deprived  it  of  strategic  value  with 
regard  to  the  Galician  theatre  of  war.  The  face 
of  the  Bukovina  is  turned  to  the  south-west. 
Its  net  of  roads  and  railways  in  no  way  inter- 
venes between  those  of  Galicia  and  Hungary  ; 
it  can  be  cut  off  without  any  appreciable 
loss  to  the  systems  of  communications  of  the 
two  neighbouring  countries.  In  the  spring  of 
1915  the  Russians  had  occupied  most  of  Galicia 
and  had  been  crossing  the  Carpathians  without 
holding  the  Bukovina  or  even  Kolomea.* 
Could  the  Austro-Hungarian  armies  have 
stopped  the  Russian  advance  on  the  line 
Chortoviets  -  Gvozdziets  -  Zablotoff  -  Pistyn,  the 
mere  loss  of  the  Bukovina  would  have  had  no 
serious  direct  influence  on  the  position  on  the 
Galician   front.     All    the   points   and    lines   of 

*  For  the  Russians,  however,  the  loss  of  the  Novosie- 
litsa-Czemovitz-KoIomea  line  in  January-February, 
1915,  meant  more  than,  under  normal  circumstances,  it 
would  have  implied  to  the  Austrians.  It  cut  their  direct 
connexion  with  Bessarabia  and  Southern  Russia.  That 
is  why  they  tried  hard  to  re'cover  it  in  May  and  June  of 
the  sains  year. 


THE    TIMES    HISTORY    OF    THE    WAIi. 


233 


considerable  strategic  value  in  south-eastern 
Galicia  lie  to  the  west  of  Kolomea.  They  may 
be  grouped  under  four  headings  : 

1  The  Dniester  Crossings. — The  river  can 
be  crossed  most  easily  between  Halitch  and 
Nizhnioff.  Its  banks  are  free  from  marshes  such 
as  surround  its  upper  course  above  Halitch, 
and  do  not  form  as  yet  a  deep,  winding  canon 
as  below  Nizhnioff.  Two  railways  and  three 
roads  cross  the  Dniester  within  the  20  miles 
between  these  two  towns.  The  side  which  holds 
these  crossings  can  establish  a  much  more 
effective  cooperation  between  its  armies  on  the 
two  banks  of  the  Dniester  than  is  possible  for 
its  opponents. 

2.  The  Transversal  Railway. — There  are  two 
big  trunk  railways  crossing  Galicia  east  and 
west :  the  Cracow-Przemysl-Lvoff-Tarnopol- 
Volotchysk  line  in  the  north,  and  the  Khabovka- 
Yaslo-Sanok-Sambor  -  Stanislavoff  -  Butchatch  - 
Husiatyn  line  at  the  foot  of  the  Carpathians. 
This  latter,  called  the  Transversal  Railway, 
formed  for  the  Austro-German  forces  in  Eastern 
Galicia  one  of  their  main  lines  of  communication 
with  the  west.  In  the  summer  of  1916  the  part 
of  it  most  directly  exposed  to  a  flank  attack  by 
General  Lechitsky's  forces  was  the  Stanislavoff- 
Tysmienitsa-Nizhnieff  sector. 


3.  The  Stanislavoff '-Delatyn-Marmaros  Sziget 
Railway  is  the  only  line  which  connected  the 
East  Galician  theatre  of  war  with  Transylvania. 
The  next  railway  across  the  Carpathians,  the 
Lvoff-Stryj-Munkacs  line,  runs  GO  miles  farther 
west.  It  is  obvious  how  great  was  the  import- 
ance of  the  Stanislavoff-Marmaros  Sziget  line 
for  the  Austro-German  armies  in  East  Galicia 
with  a  view  to  supplies,  and  also  for  the 
general  coordination  of  military  operations  in 
Galicia  and  Transylvania. 

4.  The  Yablonitsa  and  the  Pantyr  Passes, 
opening  into  Transylvania. 

At  almost  equal  distances  (about  30  miles) 
from  the  Yablonitsa  Pass,  from  Stanislavoff  and 
from  Nizhnioff  lies  the  town  of  Kolomea.  The 
"strategic  zone"  of  south-eastern  Galicia 
extends  west  of  Kolomea,  the  nearest  point  of 
it  being  Delatyn,  a  station  on  the  Stanislavoff- 
Marmaros  Sziget  railway.  Both  these  towns — 
Kolomea  and  Delatyn — lie  in  the  Pruth  valley, 
and  the  distance  between  them  is  about  20 
miles.  Kolomea,  the  junction  of  six  railways 
(two  of  them  are  local  lines  leading  to  the  oil 
district  of  Pechenizhyn)  and  of  six  high  roads, 
is  the  natural  base  for  operations  against  the 
"  zone  "  to  the  west  of  it.  After  General 
Lechitsky's    Army    had    captured    Czernovitz 


WITH    GENERAL    SAKHAROFF'S    ARMY. 
German  prisoners  collecting  their  wounded  and  placing  them  in  a  Russian  ambulance  cart. 


284 


THE    TIMES    HISTORY    OF    THE    WAR. 


and  secured  its  left  flank  in  the  Carpathians 
against  a  counter-offensive  from  Transylvania, 
Kolomea  became  its  immediate  objective. 

A  fortnight  had  passed  since  the  defeat  on 
the  Berdo  Horodyshche  and  the  capture  of 
Sniatyn  (June  13).  The  attention  of  the 
Russian  forces  having  been  taken  \ip  by  the 
forcing  of  the  Pruth  near  Czernowitz  and  by  the 
conquest  of  the  Bukovina,  the  enemy  troops 
which  had  withdrawn  to  the  west  had  had  time 
to  take  \ip  new  positions.  Their  lines  east  of 
Kolomea  now  stretched  from  near  Niezviska 
on  the  Dniester,  up  the  River  Chortoviets  to  the 
district  of  Gvozdziets,  then  down  the  Cherniava 
to  Zablotoff  on  the  Pruth,  and  from  there 
towards  Pistyn  in  the  Carpathians.  On  June  28 
fieneral  Lechitsky's  army  opened  a  general 
offensive  practically  against  the  entire  front, 
whilst   a  regiment  of  Cossacks,  having  swum 


RUSSIAN    CAVALRY. 

Scouts  in  South-Eastern  Galicia.     Smaller  picture  : 
A  typical  cavalryman. 

across  the  Dniester  near  Snovidoff,  emerged  in 
the  rear  of  the  Austrian  positions  on  the 
Chortoviets.  The  attack  of  June  28  was  a 
most  striking  case  of  a  carefully  coordinated 
plan,  carried  out  with  extraordinary  vigour. 
Before  the  impact  of  the  blow  the  Austrian  lines 
simply  collapsed  ;  they  broke  in  and  crumbled 
like  an  empty  shell.  By  7  p.m.  the  captures 
made  by  our  Allies  amounted  to  221  officers  and 
10,285  men  ;  near  Gvozdziets  a  Trans-Amur  regi- 
ment succeeded  in  taking  a  battery  of  four 
6-inch  guns,  with  their  officers,  gunners,  horses 
and  ammunition.  On  the  next  day  the  Russians 
entered  Kolomea  ;  the  panic -stricken  Austrians 
fled,  unable  to  offer  any  further  serious  resist- 
ance. They  did  not  even  find  time  to  blow  up 
the  railway  station  and  its  sidings.  By  July  2 
the  Russians  were  able  to  reopen  it  for  traffic. 
The  town  of  Kolomea  suffered  hardly  any 
damage,  as  no  serious  fighting  occurred  within 
its  area.  Only  on  its  eastern  outskirts  some 
five  or  six  houses  suffe  ed  from  fire.  But  of  the 
normal  population  of  Kolomea,  which  in  peace 
time  exceeded  40,000,  hardly  10,000  had  been 
left  after  the  Austrian  evacuation. 

The  further  Russian  advance  to  the  west 
proceeded  both  north  and  south  of  Kolomea. 
An  advance  due  west  by  the  direct  road  leading 
through  the  Pruth  valley  to  Delatyn  was 
impracticable.  Several  strong  defensive  lines 
across  it  had  been  prepared  by  the  enemy, 
and  it  would  not  have  been  possible  to  force 
them  as  long  as  the  hills  and  mountains  south 
of  the  road  remained  in  his  hands,  as  from 
those  heights  his  artillery  was  able  to  direct 
a  flanking  fire  against  troops  advancing  from 
Kolomea  against  the  west.  The  attempt  to 
reach    the  Stanislavoff-Marmaros    Sziget    rail- 


THE    TIMES    HISTORY    OF    THE    WAR. 


?35 


way  had,  therefore,  to  be  made  in  a 
south-westerly  direction,  across  the  wooded, 
mountains. 

Meantime,  the  right  wing  of  General  Lechit- 
sky's  army  and  the  adjoining  troops  of  General 
Shcherbacheff  were  pressing  forward  along 
both  banks  of  the  Dniester.  Having  broken 
through  the  Niezviska  lines,  they  entered  the 
town  of  Obertyn  on  June  29.  On  the  next  day 
one  of  the  most  extraordinary  battles  of  the 
war  developed  next  to  the  Xiezviska-Tlumatch 
road,  east  of  Yeziezhany.  The  Austrians  were 
holding  there  a  strong  line  of  trenches  covered 
by  the  usual  barrier  of  barbed  wire  entangle- 
ments. Without  waiting  for  any  artillery  pre- 
paration, a  brigade  of  Circassian  cavalrv 
opened  a  charge  against  the  enemy  lines.  "  The 
sight  was  grand,  though  terrifying,"  is  the 
account  given  by  a  non-combatant  eye-witness. 
"  With  truly  Circassian  daring,  the  cavalrymen 
attacked  the  trenches,  carrying  sabre  and  lance 
in  their  hands,  and  the  short  kindzlml  (Cir- 
cassian dagger)  in  their  teeth.  As  soon  as  the 
riders  appeared  in  the  valley  the  machine-guns 
started  their  horrible  work.  Confusion  occurred 
in  the  front  rank.  The  wild  cries  of  men  and  the 
neighing  of  wounded  horses  mixed  with  the 
rattling  of  machine-guns  and  the  cracking  of 
rifles.  Even  more  awful  was  the  sight  of  the 
riders  who  perished  in  the  wire  entanglements. 
Still,  with  a  wild  contempt  of  death,  the  Cir- 
cassians started  cutting  the  wire.  Many  perished, 
but  the  road  was  open  for  the  surviving 
squadrons.  A  fresh  charge  followed,  and  a  real 
massacre  started  in  the  trenches.  The  Cir- 
cassians worked  with  sabres  and  kindzhals  .  .  ." 
Whoever  from  among  the  Austrians  was  able  to 
escape,  fled  in  terror.  On  June  30,  at  noon,  the 
Circassian  troops  entered  Yeziezhany.  In 
conformance  with  the  Austrian  retreat  south 
of  the  Dniester,  the  army  of  Count  Bothmer,  on 
the  left  bank  of  the  river,  had  also  to  withdraw 
several  miles  to  the  west,  on  to  the  Koropiets 
line,  thus  bending  back  still  farther  its  right 
wing.  In  this  retreat,  in  the  first  days  of  July, 
they  suffered  severe  losses  at  the  hands  of  the 
pursuing  Russian  troops,  especially  in  the 
district  round  Monastezhysha. 

Had  the  Russians  been  able  to  push  forward 
another  10  miles  to  the  west,  and  had  they 
succeeded  in  capturing  the  Dniester  crossings, 
Bothmer's  position  in  the  centre  would  have 
become  untenable.  Their  advance  had,  there- 
fore, to  be  stopped  by  the  Austro-German 
wmies    on    the    Tlumatch    line,    or    a   general 


retreat  in  East  Galicia  would  have  become 
for  them  unavoidable.  After  General  von 
Pflanzer-Baltin's  army  had  been  broken  up  in 
the  Bukovina,  its  main  body  withdrew  into  the 
Carpathians.  That  part,  however,  which  had 
effected  its  retreat  on  to  Stanislavoff  was  linked 
up  with  the  "  German  Army  of  the  South.'' 
Count  Bothmer's  line  was  thus  extended  to  the 
south,  and  he  was  put  in  charge  of  the  defences 
of  the  Dniester  crossings.  Towards  the  end  of 
June  he  received  considerable  reinforcements, 
consisting  mainly  of  fresh  Prussian  divisions. 
On  July  2  he  opened  his  counter-offensive  along 
the  southern  bank  of  the  Dniester.  After  a 
violent  bayonet  fight  in  the  village  of  Yeziez- 
hany, our  Allies  had  to  withdraw  before  the 
superior  forces  of  the  enemy.  Still,  in  spite  of 
the  most  desperate  attacks,  the  Germans  did 
not  succeed  in  reaching  the  Niezviska  Obertyn 
line,  and  had  finally  to  settle  down  on 
the  Yeziezhany-Khotsiiniezh-Zhukoff  front. 
"During  these  battles,"  wrote  the  Roman 
Catholic  curate  of  Yeziezhany,  about  the  middle 
of  July,  1916,  "  12  civilian  inhabitants  of  my 
village  were  killed  and  20  wounded.  In  the 
neighbouring  village  of  Issakoff  more  than  100 
people  are  said  to  have  perished.  On  July  6 
the  Germans  ordered  the  complete  evacuation 
of  my  parish  on  account  of  the  artillery  duel 
which  was  proceeding,  and  which  destroyed  part 


\ 

TST  J"^     tiv 

M 

:    i 

Ml 

1 

M§ 

r  ,; 

» 

Wrjr^^^^^L 

GENERAL    SHCHERBACHEFF. 


236 


THE    TIMES    HISTORY    OF    THE    WAR. 


of  our  village.  About  1,500  people  had  to  leave 
their  homesteads. 

"  On  the  way  to  Tlumatch,  where  we  were 
ordered  to  go,  I  saw  many  dead  men  and 
horses  lying  unburied  in  the  fields,  poisoning 
the  air.  Between  Yeziezhany  and  Zhyvachoft 
— i.e.,  between  the  opposing  lines  of  trenches — 
they  are  lying  to  the  present  day. 

"  I  found  Tlumatch  deserted  by  most  of 
the  town  inhabitants,  but  rilled  with  peasants 
who  had  been  evacuated  from  the  neighbouring 
villages.  These  people  do  not  want  to  go 
any  farther,  but  wish  to  weather  here  the 
storm  and  return  to  their  farms." 

For  the  time  being  Count  Bothmer  had  saved 
his  right  flank  from  complete  outflanking. 
''The  German  troops  which  delivered  repeated 


WOUNDED   RUSSIANS    AND    AUSTRIANS. 

A  novel  form  of  Russian  stretcher.    Smaller  picture: 

War-worn   Austrian  prisoners. 

heroic  counter-attacks  south  of  the  Dniester," 
wrote  the  military  correspondent  of  the 
Frankfurter  Zeilung  under  date  of  July  9, 
"  are  preventing  further  envelopment."  But 
the  Austrians  west  of  Kolomea  have  again 
"  proved  unable  to  make  a  stand."  And 
then  he  winds  up  his  remarks  in  this  pathetic, 
desperate  plea :  "  But  in  the  interests  of  the 
whole  front  it  is  necessary  that  the  Austrians 
should  stand  fast  in  that  district.  For  even 
the  most  heroic  valour  of  our  troops  cannot 
realize  its  aim  if  the  adjoining  positions  are 
not  maintained." 

Yet,  however  keen  the  Austrians  must 
have  been  to  satisfy  their  irate  allies,  they 
were  unable  to  withstand  the  Russian  offensive. 
On  June  30  the  Russians  entered  Pistyn, 
about  12  miles  due  south  of  Kolomea,  and, 
on  the  same  day,  pushed  forward  against 
Berezoff,  some  six  miles  farther  in  a  west- 
north-western  direction.  Continuing  their 
advance  through  the  mountains  they  reached 
on  July  3  Potok  Charny,  only  six  miles  east 
of  the  Delatyn-Marmaros  Sziget  railway. 
On  the  following  day  they  cut  the  railway 
in    the    district    of    Mikulitchin,    due    west    of 


THE    TIMES    HISTORY    OF    THE    WAR. 


237 


Berezoff,  and  10  miles  south  of  Delatyn. 
Parallel  with  this  movement,  another  advance 
across  the  hills  was  carried  out  from  Kolomea 
against  Pechenizhyn.  Supported  by  some 
excellent  artillery  work,  the  Russian  infantry 
forced  its  way  into  that  town,  about  seven 
miles  west  of  Kolomea,  on  the  very  same  day 
on  which  the  movement  had  been  started. 
The  Austrians  in  their  retreat  were  not  even 
able  to  destroy  the  bridges  at  Pechenizhyn. 
The  clearing  of  the  mountains  south  of  the 
Kolomea-Delatyn  road  of  enemy  forces  enabled 
our  Allies  to  effect  their  advance  also  along  that 
main  highway.  On  July  4  they  carried  at 
the  point  of  the  bayonet  the  Austrian  positions 
in  the  village  of  Sadzavka  (more  than  half  the 
distance  to  Delatyn).  Finally,  on  July  9, 
the  Petrograd  official  report  was  able  to 
announce  the  capture  of  Delatyn  itself,  which 
had  been  effected  on  the  previous  day  by  the 
army  of  General  Lechitsky.  One  of  the 
main  objectives  of  his  offensive,  the  cutting 
of  the  railway  which  connects  East  Galicia 
with  Transylvania  had  thus  been  attained, 
and  the  second  stage  of  the  advance  of  the 
Ninth  Russian  Army  had  reached  its  victorious 
conclusion.      In  view  of  the  slower  development 


in  the  north  no  further  advance  was  now 
intended  by  Russian  Headquarters  south  of 
the  Dniester.  In  their  evening  communique 
of  July  9  they  published  a  summary  of  the 
captures  made  during  the  second  stage  Of 
General  Lechitsky's  offensive — i.e.,  since  the 
conquest  of  the  Bukovina  had  been  completed. 
"  According  to  the  reckoning  made  by  the 
army  of  General  Lechitsky.  in  the  period 
from  June  23  to  July  7  it  took  prisoners 
674  officers  and  30,875  men,  and  captured 
18  guns.  100  macliine-guns,  and  11  caissons  of 
ammunition." 

The  heavy  rains  and  floods  which  occurred 
in  the  Dniester  region  about  the  middle  of 
July  rendered  the  lull  in  military  opera- 
tions in  that  district  longer  than  had  been 
intended.  The  Dniester  had  risen  nearly 
10  ft.  and  the  Pruth  more  than  10  ft.  The 
plain  south  of  Stanislavoff,  which,  on  a  width 
of  about  18  miles  is  traversed  by  some  14  rivers 
and  streams,  was  becoming  impassable.  "  The 
overflow  of  the  Dniester  continues,"  was  the 
Petrograd  report  of  July  20,  "  the  valleys 
situated  in  the  neighbourhood  are  flooded 
through  the  rivulets  overflowing  their  banks. 
The  slopes  of  the  heights  are  so  slippery  as  to 


RUSSIAN    SCOUTS    AFTER    FORDING    A    STREAM:    CREEPING    TOWARDS 

AN    ENEMY    POSITION. 


238 


THE    TIMES!    HISTORY    OF    THE    WAR. 


GENERAL    KELLER. 

Holding  an  important  command  in  General 

Lechitsky's  Army. 

be  almost  unclimbable.  At  many  points  the 
bridges  have  been  washed  away."  Only  in  the 
high  mountains,  round  Tartaroff  and  Vorokhta 
and  in  the  regions  of  the  heights  of  the  Magura 
and  Capul,  were  our  Allies  able  to  continue 
extending  their  positions  towards  the  Transyl- 
vanian   border. 

In  the  first  days  of  August  fresh  fighting  was 
reported  north-west  of  Kolomea,  and  also 
north  of  the  Dniester,  where  our  Allies  suc- 
ceeded in  gaining  a  foothold  on  the  western 
bank  of  the  Koropiets.  On  August  7,  after  a 
month's  interval,  General  Lechitsky  resumed 
his  offensive,  which  now  entered  on  its  third 
stage.  The  first  attack  was  carried  out  round 
Tlumatch,  on  a  front  of  about  16  miles.  The 
"  heroic  valour  "  of  the  German  troops  did  not 
prove  in  this  case  much  different  from  the 
"  inability  to  resist,"  ascribed  by  them  to  their 
allies.  On  the  same  day  on  which  the  offen- 
sive was  begun  the  Russians  broke  through 
the  German  front  and  captured  Tlumatch. 
On  the  next  day  the  movement  extended  into 
a  concentric  advance  from  the  east  and  south 
against  Stxnislavoff ;  at  6  p.m.  our  Allies 
entered  the  town  of  Tysmienitsa,  whilst  farther 
north,  round  Nizhnioff,  they  captured  the  right 
bank  of  the  Dniester.  On  the  next  day  also 
the  northern   bank  was  reached   in   that   dis- 


trict by  the  Russian  troops  (of  General 
Shcherbacheff s  Army),  which  by  -a  vigorous 
attack  against  the  VelesniofT-Koropiets  line 
had  forced  their  way  across  the  River  Koro- 
piets. Thus  the  first  Dniester  crossing  had 
fallen  into  the  hands  of  our  Allies.  On  August  9 
they  captured  the  railway  station  of  Khryplin, 
the  junction  of  the  three  railways  which 
approach  Stanislavoff  from  the  south  and  east 
(the  Transylvanian  line,  the  Czernovitz-Kolomea. 
railway,  and  the  eastern  sector  of  the  Trans- 
versal railway).  On  the  same  night  the 
Austrian  Army  Command  evacuated  Stanis- 
lavoff. On  the  next  day  our  Allies  entered  the 
town  for  the  third  time  during  the  war. 

Count  Bothmer  could  now  no  longer  delay 
his  retreat.  In  the  north  General  Sakharoff 
was  rapidly  approaching  the  Lvoff-Tarnopol 
railway,  and  turning  his  positions  on  the 
Gladki-Vorobiyovka  front  ;  in  the  south  his 
retreat  by  the  Transversal  line  and  his  con- 
nexion with  Transylvania  were  cut  by  Genera' 
Lechitsky,  whilst  the  troops  of  General 
Shcherbacheff  were  turning  his  flank  on  the  left 
bank  of  the  Dniester.  By  August  10  they 
had  captured  Monastezhyska  and  even  crossed 
the  River  Zlota  Lipa  in  the  neighbourhood  of 
Nizhnioff.  By  August  12  the  last  remaining 
part  of  the  enemy's  winter  line  of  fortifications 
was  captured  by  our  Allies.  The  entire  enemy 
centre  had  to  be  withdrawn  from  the  Strypa. 
Suffering   severe   losses    at   the   hands    of   the 


GENERAL    VON    TERSZTYANSKY, 
Commanded   the  Fourth  Austro-Hungarian  Army. 


THE    TIMES    HISTORY    OF    THE    WAR. 


239 


WITH   GENERAL   SAKHAROFF'S   TROOPS. 
Periscopic  work  on   the  field. 


pursuing  Russians,  the  Austro-German  armies 
fell  back  on  the  Zlota  Lipa  line,  though  that 
front  had  already  been  passed  by  our  Allies 
in  the  direct  neighbourhood  of  the  Dniester, 
where  they  had  reached  the  River  Horozhanka. 
On  the  Krasne-Tarnopol  line  they  abandoned 
even  the  important  district  and  town  of 
Zboroff  which  but  a  week  earlier  had  been 
visited  by  Field-Marshal  von  Hindenburg. 
And,  '  again,  tens  of  thousands  of  peasants 
from  these  districts  were  compelled  by  the 
Austrian  Government  to  evacuate  their  home- 
steads and  trek  into  exile  amongst  strangers. 
For. many  weary  days  they  travelled  in  carts 
and  on  foot  towards  the  west — a  picture  of 
hopeless,  unrelieved  misery.  In  the  centre  the 
Austrians  withdrew  to  Bzhezhany,  the  town 
itself  being  included  in  the  battle-front.  "On 
August  11,"  wrote  an  eye-witness,  'all  the 
Austrian  civilian  authorities  suddenly  left  the 
town.  The  last  train  left  it  on  August  13, 
at  2  p.m.  With  the  flight  of  the  authorities, 
greater  liberty  came  for  the  people  ;  passports 
and  permits  were  no  longer  .required,  and  we 
were  free  to  leave  our  houses  at  night  ;  bread, 
sugar  and  flour  cards  lost  their  use.  Still 
there  is   hardly   anyone   left   to   avail   himself 


of  the  new  freedom.  .  .  ."  Again,  the 
Austrians  had  carried  out  their  thorough 
"  evacuation." 

By  the  middle  of  August,  when  a  new  lull 
intervened  on  the  Eastern  front,  the  problem 
implied  in  the  second  phase  of  the  great  Russian 
offensive  of  1916  had  been  solved  completely 
in  favour  of  our  Allies.  The  enemy  had  aban- 
doned his  entire  front  south  of  the  Marshes, 
having  lost  in  ten  weeks'  fighting  in  prisoners 
alone  well  over  300,000  men.  The  total 
casualties  suffered  by  him  in  that  campaign 
almost  equalled  the  original  strength  of  his 
armies  between  the  Pripet  Marshes  and  the 
Carpathian  Mountains. 

Our  Allies  could  watch  with  amusement  the 
changes  which,  as  a  consequence  of  the  defeats 
suffered  at  their  hands,  were  made  in  the 
higher  army  commands  of  the  Central  Powers — 
it  was  now  clearly  beyond  the  power  of  any 
human  being  to  reverse  the  verdict  of  the  pre- 
ceding weeks.  It  will  be  remembered  that 
directly  after  the  first  defeat  near  Lutsk  and 
Dubno  the  Austro -Hungarian  armies  in  Vol- 
hynia  had  been  put  under  the  command  of  the 
Prussian    general    von    Linsingen.     Moreover, 


240 


THE     TIMES    HISTORY    OF    THE    WAR. 


GERMAN    PRISONERS    IN    A    CORNFIELD. 


Archduke  Joseph-Ferdinand,  who  since  the 
winter  of  1914-15  had  been  in  command  of 
the  Fourth  Austro -Hungarian  Army,  was 
replaced  by  General  von  Tersztyansky  ;  and 
General  Puhallo  von  Brlog,  who  in  May,  1915, 
had  taken  over  the  command  of  the  Third 
Austro -Hungarian  Army,*  was  succeeded  by 
General  von  Fath,  previously  in  charge  of  an 
army  corps  in  Puhallo's  army.  In  the  south 
Count  Bothmer's  line  and  powers  were  ex- 
tended, and  a  new  army  under  General  KSvess 
was  formed  in  Transylvania  to  hold  the 
lengthened  front  in  the  Carpathians. 

It  was  generally  known  that  as  a  result  of 
the  defeats  suffered  by  the  Austro  -Hungarian 
Armies  in  the  first  weeks  of  June  their  Com- 
mander-in-Cliief,  Archduke  Frederick,  and  the 
Chief  of  the  General  Staff,  Baron  Conrad  von 
Hotzendorf,  had  had  to  relinquish  their  posts. 
With  the  possible  exception  of  the  extreme 
"  Great-Austrians  "  no  one  regretted  their  fall. 
The  Magyars  even  rejoiced  over  it,  as  these 
two  generals  were  known  as  enemies  of  the 
Dualist  Constitution  and  of  Magyar  separatism, 
and  were  considered  enthusiastic  votaries 
of  a  unified,  centralized  Hapsburg  Monarchy 
(die  Gesammtmonarchie  was   their  ideal).    Still, 


*  His  predecessor,  General  Borojevic  von  Bojna  was 
transferred  to  the  Isonzo  on  the  outbreak  of  the  war  with 
Italy. 


it  was  a  real  humiliation  to  Old-Austrian  pride 
\vhen,  on  August  2,  the  Prussian  Junker,  von 
Hindenburg,  was  proclaimed  sole  commander 
on  the  Eastern  Front.  A  few  days  later 
a  Hapsburg  amendment  was  added  to  the 
announcement.  Hindenburg's  command  was 
to  extend  only  from  the  Baltic  Sea  to  a 
point  south  of  the  Lvoff-Tarnopol  railway, 
thus  including,  south  of  the  Marshes,  the 
armies  of  Linsingen's  group,  and,  moreover, 
on  its  right  flank,  the  Second  Austro-Hun- 
garian  Army  under  General  von  Boehm- 
Ermolli.  The  remaining  three  armies  (those 
of  Bothmer,  Kovess  and  Pflanzer-Baltin)  were 
put  under  the  command  of  a  new  genius  from 
the  House  of  Austria,  the  Heir-Apparent 
Archduke  Karl  Franz  Josef.  Born  in  1887,  he 
had  received  his  commission  of  second  lieutenant 
in  1903,  became  a  major  in  1909,  and  a  colonel 
on  July  25,  1914 — at  the  age  of  27.  A  year 
later  he  advanced  to  the  rank  of  major-general, 
and  in  March,  1910,  to  that  of  a  Field- 
Marshal-Lieutenant.  In  May  he  was  put 
at  the  head  of  the  ill-fated  Austrian  offen- 
sive against  Italy,  and  now  he  was  placed 
in  command  of  the  forces  on  the  Transyl- 
vanian  border — to  retrieve  in  a  struggle 
against  Russia,  and  soon  also  against  our  new 
Ally,  Rumania,  Austria's  fortunes  and  the 
military  reputation  of  the  Hapsburg^. 


CHAPTER   CXLIV. 

THE   MEDICAL    SERVICE   OF  THE 

ROYAL   NAVY. 


The  Naval  Doctor  and  His  Work — Problems  of  Modern  Warfare — Prevention  of  Disease 
— Nerve  Strain  and  the  Seaman's  Psychology — The  Naval  Medical  Department — Dan- 
gerous Diseases — The  Typhoid  Peril — Ventilation  of  Ships — New  Devices — The  Naval 
Action  off  Heligoland — Treatment  of  Wounded — The  Value  of  Experience — Hospital 
Accommodation — Hospital  Ships  and  Trains — Medical  Work  in  Minor  Actions — The 
Pegasus — The  Emden — The  Tiger  in  Action,  January  24,  1915 — The  Dardanelles — Naval 
Mission  to  Serbia — Royal  Naval  Air  Service — The  Battle  of  Jutland  Bank — On  Board 
the  Warrior — In  the  Lion — Honours  for  Naval  Doctors. 


IN  earlier  chapters  the  story  of  the  work 
of  the  Army  doctor  has  been  told.  It 
has  been  shown  how  that  work  fell 
naturally  into  two  divisions,  the  work 
of  attending  to  the  wounded  and  the  work 
of  guarding  the  health  of  the  forces  in  the 
field.  The  latter  duty  was,  perhaps,  of  para- 
mount importance,  since  upon  the  mental, 
moral,  and  physical  well-being  of  its  fighting 
men  depends  at  all  times  the  efficiency  of  an 
army. 

The  army  doctor,  however,  was  not  the 
only  member  of  the  medical  profession  into 
whose  hands  a  great  trust  was  committed  when 
war  broke  out  ;  equally  with  him  the  naval 
doctor  shared  the  heavy  responsibility.  Disease 
was  perhaps  a  less  instant  menace  to  the  fleets 
at  sea  than  to  the  troops  ashore,  but  the  task 
of  the  naval  doctor  was  no  whit  less  difficult, 
no  whit  less  important  than  that  of  his  Army 
colleague.  It  was,  moreover,  a  task  of  a  special 
kind,  differing  in  essential  particulars  from  that 
of  the  army  doctor,  demanding  knowledge  of 
an  unusual  sort,  and  presenting  many  complex 
problems  of  a  kind  not  met  with  in  other 
spheres. 

It  is  a  tradition  of  the  Navy  to  keep  silence  ; 
silence,  also,  is  the  tradition  of  the  medical 
Vol.  IX.— Part  111. 


profession.  In  the  Naval  Medical  Service  the 
traditions  were  joined,  and  so  little  was  heard 
by  the  world  of  the  great  work  which  these 
sea  doctors  accomplished,  of  the  heroism 
revealed  by  them,  of  the  sacrifices  which  they 
offered.  Yet  it  is  certain  that  the  men  of  the 
Naval  Medical  Service  performed  a  task,  the 
value  of  which  cannot  be  reckoned  too  high. 
They  themselves  were  the  shield  of  the  "  Sure 
Shield  "  of  our  coasts,  in  that  they  stood 
between  our  seamen  and  the  influences  threaten- 
ing their  efficiency  ;  they  were  guardians  of  the 
well-being  of  our  fleets,  just  as  our  fleets  were 
the  guardians  of  our  national  well-being  ; 
behind  the  gun  was  the  man,  but  beliind  the 
man,  again,  responsible  for  his  steadiness  in 
emergency,  his  fighting  capacity,  his  untram- 
melled use  of  all  his  faculties,  was  the  doctor. 

The  naval  doctor  was  ready  when  the  call 
upon  him  came,  so  ready,  indeed,  that  within 
four  days  from  the  declaration  of  war  hospital 
sliips  were  fully  equipped  and  on  their  way  to 
j  oin  the  Grand  Fleet.  The  equipment  had  been 
thought  out  and  prepared  long  before  ;  had 
been  packed  and  stored  in  readiness ;  it  in- 
cluded everything  which  the  wit  of  experienced 
man  could  suppose  might  be  wanted  during 
and  after  an  action  at  sea.     There  was  only 


241 


•24'2 


THE    TIMES    HISTORY    OF    THE    WAR. 


ON    BOARD    A    WARSHIP. 
Passing  wounded  down  to  the  Sick  Bay. 


to  speak  the  word  and  to  proceed  forthwith  to 
the  war  stations. 

As  it  happened,  this  early  equipment  was 
not  required  at  once  ;  the  great  battle  which 
many  expected  during  the  first  days  of  war 
did  not  take  place,  and  the  calls  upon  the 
hospital  ships  were  few.  This,  however, 
is  no  reason  for  minimising  the  importance 
of  the  preparations  made,  nor  yet  for  for- 
getting that,  in  the  hour  of  need,  the  Naval 
Medical  Service  was  ready  just  as  the 
Navy  was  ready,  fully  equipped,  fully 
trained,  in  a  position  to  handle  the  work 
occasioned  by  a  great  battle.  Jutland  Bank, 
with  its  fierce  incidents,  its  terrible  calamities, 
might  have  occurred  in  August  1914  instead 
of  in  May  1916,  so  far  as  the  ability  of  the 
doctors  to  cope  with  it  was  concerned.  The 
administration  at  Whitehall  had  done  its  work 
thoroughly  in  the  light  of  knowledge  ;  readiness 
had  been  its  watchword  for  years. 

Nor  was  this  readiness  destined  to  become 
the  prelude  to  a  policy  of  laisser  faire  while 
the  long  days  of  waiting  and  watching  which 
followed  the  declaration  of  war  ran  their 
course.     In  the  Navy,  as  in  the  Army,  a  new 


conception  of  medicine  had  during  the  years 
before  1914  become  firmly  established.  Men 
remembered  with  glowing  pride  the  gracious 
figure  of  the  surgeon  pictured  in  attendance 
upon  the  dying  Nelson.  They  recalled,  perhaps, 
with  wistful  thought  the  fierce  setting  of 
smoke  and  flame  in  which  that  picture  ever 
presents  itself  ;  they  thrilled  as  the  eyes  of 
the  hero  rose  in  their  minds.  But  they  knew 
that  those  old  days  had  passed  for  ever.  The 
greatest  office  of  their  service  was  still,  in  a 
sense,  the  office  of  mercy  and  of  healing,  but 
in  a  sense  only.  Naval  battles  were  no  longer 
as  the  battles  Nelson  fought  ;  vast  ships  carried 
to  sea  vast  numbers  of  men  ;  the  Grand  Fleet 
was  a  town,  a  city,  subject  to  all  the  dangers 
and  troubles  which  beset  the  health  of  cities, 
needing  protection  from  these  dangers,  depen- 
dent for  its  efficiency  upon  the  vigilance,  th6 
knowledge,  and  the  devotion  of  its  health 
officers. 

This  was  the  new  doctrine  of  preventive 
medicine ;  the  doctrine  that  while  few  diseases 
are  really  curable,  almost  all  diseases,  certainly 
all  infectious  diseases,  are  preventible.  The 
Naval    surgeon    fovind    himself   faced  with    a 


THE    TIMES    HISTORY    OF    THE    WAR. 


243 


harder  task  than  healing  the  wounds  of  battle. 
He  realized  that  to  his  care  had  been  committed 
the  health,  the  fighting  capacity  of  those 
highly  trained,  irreplaceable  men,  the  gunners, 
the  engineers,  the  signallers,  and  all  the  ratings 
who  go  to  make  up  the  strength  and  efficiency 
of  the  Royal  Navy.  He  was  the  health  officer 
of  a  community  in  which  every  man  counted, 
and  in  which  the  value  of  any  particular  man 
was  beyond  assessment. 

The  conditions  of  work,  too,  were  not  easy. 
Much  was  written  at  the  time  about  the  long 
strain  of  waiting  and  watching  undergone  by 
our  seamen  during  those  early  months,  but 
probably  the  full  extent  of  the  penalty  exacted 
was  not  then  grasped  by  anyone  outside  of  the 
Service.  On  the  one  hand  there  was  the 
prospect  of  battle  at  any  hour,  on  the  other 
the  weariness  of  hope  indefinitely  deferred. 
And  later  came  the  anxiety  of  mine  and 
torpedo,  demanding  a  ceaseless  vigilance. 

These  were  menaces  to  health  without 
question,  for  it  is  an  established  fact  that  a 
man  who  has  been  subjected  to  prolonged 
mental  strain  falls  an  easier  victim  to  disease. 


"The  nervous  strain  of  being  under-  shell- 
fire  day  after  day,  week  after  week,  and 
month  after  month  might,"  wrote  a  surgeon 
of  the  Royal  Marines  in  Gallipoli,  "  be  ex- 
pected to  cause  a  large  amount  of  mental 
depression  and  even  insanity  amongst  the 
troops.  The  expectation  was  not  realized 
in  this  battalion.  During  the  first  six  months 
of  war  on  board  a  battleship  in  the  North  Sea 
I  saw  many  more  eases  of  conditions  allied  to 
melancholia  than  I  did  during  my  stay  on  the 
Peninsula.  Surgeon  Beaton,  R.N.,  whom  I 
had  the  privilege  of  serving  with  in  that  ship, 
found,  after  an  exhaustive  inquiry,  that  the 
number  of  mental  cases  (both  severe  and  slight) 
was  less  than  5  per  cent,  of  the  ship's  company. 
Though  I  had  neither  the  time  nor  the  skill 
he  possesses,  in  the  investigation  of  the  minor 
forms  of  mental  disturbance,  my  impression  is 
that  in  this  battalion  there  were  much  fewer 
eases.  The  mental  strain  of  being  under  shell- 
fire  appeared  to  be  much  less  than  that  of  being 
exposed  to  the  hidden  dangers  of  mines  and 
submarines." 

These  observations  of  Surgeon  Beaton,  R.N., 


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THE    TIMES    HISTORY    OF    THE    WAR. 


245 


which  were  published  in  the  "  Journal  of  the 
Royal  Naval  Medical  Service,"  were  indeed 
of  a  remarkable  character  as  showing  one  side 
of  the  great  problem  which  had  to  be  faced. 
The  ship's  company  which  formed  the  material 
of  the  investigation  was  perhaps  exceptional, 
for  most  of  the  men  were  married  and  had 
held,  during  their  shore  life,  positions  demand- 
ing considerable  intelligence  and  necessitating 
much  self-reliance.  Some  had  had  a  certain 
amount  of  responsibility  in  civic  life, 

The  ship  under  consideration  lay  for  a  long 
period  at  the  beginning  of  the  war  (over  four 
months)  in  an  exposed  position  on  the  East 
Coast ;  next  she  went  to  sea  for  two  days  ; 
lastly,  she  lay  six  weeks  in  a  protected  harbour 
on  the  South  Coast.  Surgeon  Beaton  com- 
mented :  "  Roughly  speaking,  the  influence 
of  the  first  period  was  in  the  nature  of  a  pro- 
longed and  monotonous  stress.  Owing  to  the 
nature  of  the  position  the  routine  demanded 
was  of  an  extremely  irksome  type,  consisting  of 
continual  watches,  night  and  day,  daily  repeti- 
tion of  the  measures  for  defence  and  offence 
possessed  by  the  ship  and,  save  for  a  very 
occasional  route  march,  giving  the  men  two  or 
three  hours  away  from  the  ship,  notliing  to 
break  the  monotony  or  to  give  some  little 
change  to  the  environment.  Recreation,  while 
off  actual  duty,  too,  presented  many  difficulties, 
owing  to  the  need  for  darkening  the  ship  and 
the  shortness  of  tho  daylight  at  the  time  of  the 
year.  There  was  the  always-present  possi- 
bility of  attack  by  submarine  or  by  ships  of 
superior  f<5rce,  at  some  times  more  apparently 
imminent  than  at  others." 

A  very  careful  and  important  analysis 
was  then  given  of  the  steps  by  which  a  man 
passes  from  one  mental  state  .to  another 
under  this  strain.  This  record  presents  the 
situation  with  deadly  clearness  and  deserves 
to  bo  studied  by  all  who  would  learn  how 
much  our  sailors  did  and  suffered  on  our 
behalf  : 

"The  man  takes  up  his  duties,"  wrote  Surgeon 
Beaton,  "  it  may  be  assumed  with  more  or  less 
eagerness  and  pleasure,  the  unpleasant  facts 
of  leaving  his  home  and  his  ordinary  life  and 
the  possibility  of  danger  in  the  new  sphere 
lieing  more  than  counterbalanced  by  the 
emotional  satisfaction  arising  out  of  the  grati- 
fication of  his  patriotic  instincts.  Largely 
influenced  by  this  self-satisfaction,  he  smooths 
over  his  absence  from  his  home  ;  the  life  on 
board  ship  obtains  a  certain  glamour  :   and  the 


little  difficulties  to  be  encountered  do  not 
appear  on  the  horizon.  There  is  also  the 
feeling  of  returning  again  to  a  life  belonging 
to  his  younger  days,  of  which  he  undoubtedly 
recalls  much  that  is  inviting.  He  meets  a 
large  number  of  entirely  fresh  faces,  and  in  the 
interest  to  be  found  in  such  circumstances 
his  mind  is  fully  employed. 

"  It  was  remarkable  to  notice  how  quickly 
the  men  settled  down  and  merged  their  in- 
dividuality into  the  component  of  the  ship's 
conmany.  Given  a  short  space  of  time  the 
man  has  sorted  out  the  new  acquaintances 
into  friends  and  otherwise  ;  the  novelty  of  the 
situation  has  passed  off  ;  the  routine  no  longer 
demands  that  close  attention  which  was 
necessary  at  first,  and  there  is  nothing  further 
to  be  discussed  in  the  ship.  His  mind  then 
turns  to  other  more  remote  matters;  the 
possibilities  of  the  duration  of  the  war,  the 
probabilities  of  the  employment  of  the  ship 
and  the  part  he  himself  will  actually  play  in 
the  war.  Such  topics  are  naturally  of  great 
importance  to  him,  and  consequently  they  are 
discussed  everywhere  in  the  ship.  Pass  along 
another  week  or  so  and  these  matters  have 
been  threshed  out  to  the  bone ;  everyone's 
opinion  has  been  given  many  times  over.  The 
newspapers  do  not  help  by  bringing  any  fresh 
material  as  food  for  discussion,  and  he  is 
completely  in  the  dark  as  to  any  movement 
on  the  part  of  the  ship  herself. 

"  It  is  only  to  be  expected  that  under  such 
circumstances  discussion  of  these  topics  be- 
comes unprofitable  and  highly  unsatisfying 
To  a  man  accustomed  to  foresee  his  own  course 
of  action,  it  is  very  difficult  to  maintain  a  state 
of  intelligent  anticipation  with  so  little  material 
to  work  upon.  More  than  that,  the  effort  to 
maintain  it  in  the  face  of  such  difficulties, 
coupled  with  the  feeling  of  helplessness  in  his 
own  destinies,  becomes  an  irritating  factor  the 
longer  it  continues. 

"  As  a  result  it  was  found  that,  as  a  subject 
of  general  interest,  the  war  and  its  personal 
application  to  the  individual  ceased  to  be 
heard.  Instead,  as  a  defensive  measure,  the 
man  adopts  a  condition  of  more  or  less  unstable 
apathy  to  his  future,  unstable  on  account  of 
the  setting  on  one  side  of  his  instincts  of  self- 
preservation  and  self-control 

"  In  the  meantime,  he  has  been  going  on, 
day  after  day,  repeating  the  same  evolutions  of 
the  routine ;  and  though,  as  regards  the  efficiency 
of  the  ship,  the  automaticity  with  which  these 

111—2 


246 


THE    TIMES    HISTORY    OF    THE    WAS. 


[Vamiyk. 

SIR    JAMES    PORTER. 

Director-Genera!,   Naval   Medical   Service, 

1908-1913. 

come  to  be  performed  is  very  desirable,  from 
the  individual's  standpoint  the  results  are  not 
so  happy.  Apart  from  the  actual  time  while 
on  duty,  the  man  has  nothing  of  importance  in 
the  ship  left  to  think  about.  The  effort,  too, 
at  maintaining  a  sufficient  interest  in  so 
monotonous  and  trying  a  routine,  becomes  a 
steadily  increasing  stress  as  tune  goes  on." 

The  writer  then  goes  on  to  show  that  in  these 
circumstances  small  events  tend  to  assume 
great  proportions,  and  continues  :  "  It  will  be 
seen  from  the  fact  of  the  underlying  stress  and 
the  failure  of  satisfaction  of  the  primary 
instincts  and  habits  of  the  man  that  the 
emotional  background  is  more  likely  to  be 
dark  than  bright.  The  disproportion  will  there- 
fore probably  exist  in  a  direction  tending  to 
produce  a  state  of  anxiety  and  distress  of  the 
mind.  It  must  be  remembered  that  this 
anxiety,  though  outwardly  attributable  to  the 
insignificant  event,  is  in  reality  the  outward 
expression  of  the  general  unsatisf action  of  the 
mind." 

The  extent  of  such  mental  disturbance 
depends  on  the  cast  of  the  man's  own  mind, 
and  necessarily  varies  in  each  individual. 
Generally     speaking,    however,     the     doctors 


had  to  weigh   the  factors  just  outlined  when 
visiting  the  men. 

"  The  attendance  at  the  sick  bay  towards 
the  end  of  the  period  under  discussion,  showed 
quite  plainly  the  necessity  for  taking  these 
considerations  into  view  in  dealing  with 
the  various  minor  ailments  and  injuries 
which  came  under  notice.  Mild  conditions 
of  neurasthenia  with  hypochondriacal  ideas 
were  prevalent.  Minor  accidents  all  had  a 
mental  sequence  of  some  kind." 

From  this  period  of  writing,  the  story 
passed  to  the  second  period  of  active  service 
at  sea.  It  was  productive  of  very  striking 
effects.  The  relief  from  the  monotony  was 
very  welcome,  and  the  patriotic  emotions 
were  stirred  anew.  Against  this  was  the 
new  risk  to  the  individual.  What  occurred 
was  tliis  : 

"  By  far  the  majority  of  the  men  showed 
appreciable  relief — a  general  rising  of  spirits 
was  to  be  noticed.  Work  was  carried  out  with 
an  eagerness  belonging  to  the  early  days  of 
the  war — altogether  a  sense  of  satisfaction 
could  be  felt  throughout  the  ship.  In  one  case, 
however,  a  fatal  result  ensued,  the  man  severing 
his  carotid  artery  on  the  second  morning  at 
sea.  In  another,  severe  emotional  crises  arose, 
attributed  by  the  man  to  an  alteration  in  his 
home  affairs  of  which  he  had  just  heard.  In 
others,  the  intensity  of  hypochondriacal  ideas 
in  cases  under  observation  became  much 
greater." 

In  the  final  period  the  conditions  were 
entirely  different ;  the  men  were  not  continually 
subjected  to  the  stress  of  imminent  danger,  and 
they  could  have  a  little  time  ashore  away  from 
the  ship  and  its  discipline.  Also  they  saw  new 
people.     The  writer  concludes  : 

"  It  may  be  said  that  so  far  the  men  have 
come  through  exceedingly  well.  Mental  troubles 
of  a  really  serious  nature  have  occurred  in  less 
than  1  per  cent,  of  the  ship's  company,  while 
the  mild  neurasthenic  conditions  amounted  to 
under  ?,  per  cent,  or  4  per  cent.  The  conclusions 
to  be  drawn  can  only  be  that  such  lengthy 
periods  as  the,  first  four  months  under  the 
conditions  which  prevailed  in  the  first  part  of 
the  war  are  highly  undesirable,  and  should  be 
prevented  if  military  exigencies  will  permit. 
All  the  attention  possible  should  be  paid  to  the 
need  of  change  in  the  mental  environment 
while  the  men  are  under  the  influence  of  such 
continued  stress,  especially  as  adequate  recrea- 
tion could  not  be  obtained  owing  to  the  military 


THE     TIMES    HISTORY    OF    THE    WAR. 


247 


precautions  necessary  in  such  a  situation. 
That  the  results  were  not  more  regrettable  can 
only  be  due  to  the  standard  of  the  men  and 
their  moral,  and  of  that  nothing  too  good  can  be 
said." 

Here,  then,  was  a  lesson  learned  early  in  the 
war  by  the  naval  doctor.  But  let  there  be  no 
illusion  ;  the  lesson  was  not  learned  by  doing 
nothing  and  waiting  for  events  to  force  them- 
selves upon  attention  ;  these  doctors  went  out 
to  look  for  their  lessons.  In  their  own  sphere 
they  were  as  watchful  as  the  fighting  men 
were  in  theirs.  The  minute  description  of  the 
mental  state  of  the  men  afforded  by  Surgeon 
Beaton  shows  how  carefully  he  carried  on  his 
investigation,  how  diligent  were  his  observa- 
tions, and  how  shrewd  liis  deductions. 

The  value  of  the  work  scarcely  needs 
emphasizing.  After  all,  the  good  spirits  of 
a  great  fighting  unit  are  one  of  its  chief  assets  : 
loss  of  enthusiasm,  of  freshness  of  mind,  means 
deterioration  of  all  other  qualities  ;  every  man 
is  then  less  a  man  than  he  was.  The  discovery 
of  the  factors  which,  if  given  free  play,  must 
sap  energy  and  damp  interest  was  no  small 
service  ;  the  abilil  y  to  indicate  a  better  way 
was.  a  service  of  infinite  worth.  Not  in  vain 
did  the  naval  doctor  constitute  himself  thus 
early  in  the  war  the  guardian  of  that  "jolly 
spirit "  of  the  Navy  which  throughout  the 
world  has  always  been  it  title  to  love  and 
admiration. 

But  this  after  all  was  only  a  fraction  of  the 
great  work  which  the  doctor  accomplished 
aboard  ship.  While  ennui  and  depression  and 
the  strain  of  prolonged  expectancy  were 
attacking  the  minds  of  the  seamen  a  host 
of  dangers  no  less  threatening  were  attacking 
their  bodies.  For  a  great  city,  be  it  ashore 
or  afloat,  is  not,  as  we  have  seen,  kept  in  health 
by  good  luck.  Hard  work,  clear  thinking,  and 
strenuous  preparation  are  the  only  means  by 
which  this  end  can  be  accomplished. 

No  one  knew  this  better  than  the  heads  of 
the  Naval  Medical  Department,  Sir  James 
Porter  and,  later,  Sir  Arthur  May.  Sir  James 
Porter,  who  was  Director-General  from  1908 
to  1913,  laid  the  foundations  of  a  great  new 
system  of  naval  health  ;  to  Sir  Arthur  May, 
who  succeeded  him,  it  was  given  to  carry 
the  system  into  execution  and  to  amplify 
it  in  accordance  with  the  needs  of  the  hour. 
The  broad  principle  adopted  may  be  summed 
up  in  the  word  "supervision."  Nothing 
was  to  be  left  to  chance  ;    no  detail,  however 


SIR    ARTHUR    MAY. 

Director-General,  Naval  Medical  Service, 

in  the  War. 

insignificant,  was  to  be  overlooked  ;  no  pains 
were  to  be  spared. 

It  is  easy  to  make  light  of  a  policy  of  this 
kind  ;  but  it  is  not  easy  to  discount  the  fact 
that  by  the  exercise  of  it  a  number  of  men 
equivalent  to  the  complete  crews  of  two 
super -Dreadnoughts  were  presented  during 
the  first  year  of  war  as  a  gift  to  Britain. 
Before  these  measures  of  protection  and  pre- 
vention and  of  inspection  were  instituted 
these  men  were  in  hospital  as  a  permanent 
incubus.  Had  the  measures  not  been  instituted 
they  would  have  stayed  in  hospital  at  a  time 
when  the  need  of  them  was  overwhelming  ! 

The  object  of  these  health  measures  was 
expressed  in  the  phrase  "  to  secure  for  the 
officers  and  men  in  their  unavoidably  crowded 
conditions  on  board  freedom  from  infectious 
disease,  an  adequate  supply  of  pure  air,  pure 
water  and  good  wholesome  food."  This  object 
was,  of  course,  as  old  as  the  Navy  itself,  and 
the  history  of  the  efforts  made  to  attain  it  is 
a  fascinating  one.  All  the  great  naval  com- 
manders, including  Anson,  Rodney,  Howe, 
St.  Vincent,  Nelson  and  Collingwood,  took  an 
interest  in  work  of  the  kind,  and  not  without 
good   reason.     For   the  Navy   had   been   fear- 


248 


THE    TIMES    HISTORY    OF    THE    WAR. 


ON    BOARD    A 

Method  of  lowering 

fully  scourged  by  disease  on  more  than  one 
occasion.  Commodore  Anson,  for  example,  in 
his  famous  voyage  round  the  world  lost  four 
out  of  five  of  his  original  crew,  and  in  the  first 
nine  months  066  men  out. of  961  who  made 
up  the  crews  of  the  three  ships  of  war — the 
Centurion,  the  Gloucester  and  the  Tryal — 
that  succeeded  in  rounding  Cape  Horn  during 
the  worst  and  most  tempestuous  period  of 
the  year  and  reaching  the  coast  of  Peru. 
I'izarro,  who  followed  him  in  pursuit  with  a 
Spanish  squadron,  fared  worse  ;  he  failed  to 
weather  the  Cape  and  returned  with  only  one 
ship,  the  Asia,  and  100  men  out  of  an  original 
squadron  of  six  battleships  and  3,000  men. 
Most,  of  Anson's  men  had  died  of  fever  and 
scurvy,  while  Pizarro's  men  had  died  of  scurvy 
and  hunger.  Some  of  our  expeditions  actually 
failed  because  of  sickness,  and  among  these 
was  Sir  Francis  Wheeler's  attack  on  Martinique 
in  1693.  But  much  later  than  this,  disease 
was  the  great  enemy  of  the  sailor. 

Scurvy  was  at  one  time  one  of  the  worst 
of  the  foes,  but  a  naval  surgeon,  Lind,  killed 
scurvy  by  his  discovery  of  its  origin  in  a  faulty 
diet.  There  remained  as  dangers  up  till  the 
beginning  of  the  Great  War  the  ordinary 
fevers,    especially   typhoid   and   eerebro-spinal 


HOSPITAL    SHIP, 
a  man  into  the  wards. 

fever  ("spotted  fever")  and  venereal  disease. 
From  the  following  table,  which  is  taken  from 
an  article  by  Prof.  VV.  J.  Simpson  in  the 
"  Journal  of  the  Royal  Naval  Medical  Service," 
may  be  gathered  how  steady  was  the  progress 
of  health  work  in  the  Navy  before  the  war. 

Annual  Death-Rate  in  the  British  Nav"! 
from  Disease. 
Average  Rate  of  Mortality. 
Years. 


1776-1780 

1810-1812 

1830-1836 

1885 

1895 

1905 

1907 

1910 

1913 

It    was    evident    that 


death  in  8  men. 

30  „ 

72  ,, 

..      112  „ 

,.     143  ., 

.,     256  ., 

,,     298  „ 

..     311  „ 

„     309  , 

mobilization    having 


taken  place,  steps  must  at  once  be  taken  to 
arrange  for  the  nipping  in  the  bud  of  any 
epidemic  which  might  threaten  An  epidemic 
in  the  Navy,  it  must  be  remembered,  no  matter 
how  light  its  character,  would  have  been  a 
calamity  which  might  even  conceivably  have 
assumed  tragic  proportions.     Therefore  it  was 


THE    TIMES    HISTORY    OF    THE     WAR. 


•2VJ 


greatly  feared,  and  every  kind  of  precaution 
was  taken  to  prevent  it. 

The  Xavy  for  one  thing  was  a  vaccinated  force. 
Every  man  had  been  vaccinated  against  small- 
pox, and  inoculation  against  typhoid  fever  was 
general.  It  being  quite  certain,  in  spite  of  the 
declarations  of  well-meaning  faddists,  that 
vaccination  does  protect  against  smallpox,  the 
Navy  medical  authorities  rightly  refused  to 
take  the  risk  of  shipping  persons  who  might 
originate  an  epidemic.  And  so  successful  was 
their  policy  that  naval  men  on  leave  were  free 
to  enter  areas  closed  to  soldiers  because  of  out- 
breaks of  the  disease.     No  ill  effects  were  noted. 

Typhoid  fever  was  always  an  enemy  and  the 
utmost  vigilance  had  to  be  exercised.  The 
danger,  of  course,  was  greater  in  the  Mediter- 
ranean than  in  the  North  Sea  ;  but  nowhere 
was  the  danger  a  negligible  quantity.  A  case 
was  recorded,  for  example,  in  which  a  particular 
ship  showed  a  constantly  recurring  series  of 
eases  of  typhoid  fever.  No  cause  could  be 
found  in  the  water  or  food,  and  so  it  became 
clear  that  a  "  carrier "  must  be  responsible. 
A  "  carrier "  is  a  person  who  has  had  the 
fever  and  made  a  good  recovery,  but  who  does 
not   cease   to   harbour   the  bacillus.     A   search 


was  made,  the  blood  of  the  crew  being  carefully 
examined  by  the  test  known  as  the  Widal  re- 
action and  by  other  methods,  and.,  finally,  the 
evidence  pointed  to  a  particular  man.  Inves- 
tigation proved  that  this  man,  who  had  suffered 
from  typhoid  fever  10  years  previously,  had 
infected  men  in  every  ship  in  wliich  he  had 
been  stationed.  In  all  some  53  persons  were 
infected,  of  whom  11  died.  The  following 
note  was  made  upon  the  disposal  of  this  man  : 

"  From  the  naval  point  of  view  he  was  not  a 
safe  man  to  have  in  any  ship  where  any  number 
up  to  900  men  live  under  cramped  conditions." 
He  was  accordingly  invalided  out  of  the 
Service,  the  medical  officer  of  health  ashore 
being  warned  about  him. 

An  even  more  remarkable  case,  which 
illustrates  how  vigilant  the  naval  doctor 
had  to  be,  occurred  in  Portsmouth  Harbour, 
in  October,  1914,  on  board  H.M.S.  Euryalus. 
In  this  case  some  oysters  had  been  bought 
from  a  local  fishmonger,  and  were  eaten 
at  dinner,  at  7.30  p.m.,  when  most  of  the 
officers  and  ward-room  servants  partook 
of  them.  Next  day  the  ship  went  to  sea 
Within  48  hours  of  eating  the  oysters  several 
officers     were     attacked,     and    similar     cases 


ON    BOARD    A    HOSPITAL    SHIP. 
A  ward  set  apart  for  officers. 


25(J 


THE     TIMES    HISTORY    OF    THE    WAR. 


occurred  among  the  ward-room  servants,  and 
within  the  next  week  other  cases  appeared. 
Finally,  typhoid  fever  was  diagnosed  in 
the  case  of  a  lieutenant,  a  midshipman, 
and  a  marine  servant.  The  oysters  were 
traced  to  a  contaminated  bed,  and  in  several 
specimens  obtained  the  bacillus  of  typhoid 
fever  was  found.  Unhappily  there  was  no 
law  to  prevent  oysters  from  this  bed  being  sold 
in  Portsmouth,  and  as  ships  were  constantly 
coining  and  going  to  the  harbour,  the  utmost 
vigilance  became  necessary,  since  a  case  of 
typhoid  fever  on  board  ship  is  an  ever-present 
menace. 

The  efforts  made  to  control  typhoid  fever 
met  with  full  success,  and  except  for  an  occa- 
sional case  the  disease  did  not  show  itself. 
On  the  other  hand  the  naval  doctors  had  to 
cope  with  an  outbreak  of  cerebro-spinal  fever 
(spotted  fever)  which  reached  the  dimensions  of 
170  cases.  A  very  small  number  of  these  cases 
occurred  afloat,  however  ;  ten  in  the  Impreg- 
nable, an  establishment  consisting  of  three 
ships,  used  for  training  purposes,  and  12  in 
sea-going  ships.  As  the  means  nl  propaga- 
tion of  this  fever  was  not  known,  the  outbreaks 
were  difficult  to  cope  with,  but  a  solution  of 
a  more  or  less  satisfactory  kind  was  found  in  a 
careful  search  for  '"  carriers  "  and  in  hygienic 
measures,  the  chief  of  which  was  good  ventila- 
tion, the  prevention  of  overcrowding,  and 
personal  cleanliness. 

The   outbreak,   which   was   a  land   outbreak. 


was  prevented  from  going  to  sea — a  tribute  to 
the  doctors  who  laboured  to  prevent  it,  and  a 
tribute  to  the  organizers  who  had  made  ready 
against  such  a  chance.  These  organizers.  Sir 
.Arthur  May  and  the  men  associated  with  him, 
were  kept  as  fully  informed  of  the  movements 
of  their  enemy — disease — as  were  the  admirals 
of  the  movements  of  the  German  fleet.  Every 
week  there  came  to  Sir  Arthur  May's  desk  a 
report  on  the  health  of  every  unit,  every 
destroyer  as  well  as  every  super-Dreadnought. 
In  that  report  exact  figures  were  given,  and  an 
average  presented.  As  a  general  rule,  the 
average  of  sickness  was  a  point  per  cent.  ;  but  if 
it  rose  for  any  reason,  instantly  the  chiefs  of 
the  Medical  Service  knew  that  it  had  risen.  It 
was  as  though  the  foe  had  been  sighted  upon  the 


3.  ~~^^- — ■""""  4. 

1.   Cot-carrier  on  cushioned  tressels,  showing  the  rollers  and  movable  tail-boards  in  their  slots.     2.   Tail- 
tail-board  has  been  removed  at  one  end  for  the  purpose.     4.  Tail-board  replaced  and  patient  ready  to  be 

FOR    TRANSFERRING    SICK    AND    WOUNDED 


THE    TIMES    HISTORY    OF    THE    WAR. 


251 


horizon.  The  flecks  were  cleared  for  action  ; 
measures  of  protection  and  measures  of  offence 
were  initiated  until  the  dangerous  rise  in  the 
figures  had  declined  again,  and  the  enemy  been 
driven  back.  Any  case  of  infectious  disease, 
measles  or  typhoid  fever  or  any  other  fever, 
was  notified  when  diagnosed,  and  transferred 
at  once  to  an  isolation  hospital  ashore.  And 
all  the  men  who  had  been  in  contact  with  it 
were  watched  to  make  sure  that  they  had  not 
been  infected,  or  that,  if  infected,  they  would 
not  spread  infection  from  one  unit  to  another. 

These  weekly  health  reports  from  the  ships, 
from  the  North  Sea,  from  the  South  Sea,  from 
the  Mediterranean,  from  the  coasts  of  India, 
were,  indeed,  inspiring  documents.  Each  of 
them   told   of   honest   work   performed   in   the 


light  of  an  ever-present  sense  of  duty,  a  love 
of  the  Service  and  a  pride  in  it,  and  also  in  the 
"  doctor-man's  "  own  ship,  which  made  the 
remarkable  sick  percentage — 0"6 — something 
more  than  a  mere  triumph  of  organization. 

Thanks  to  these  devoted  ship's  doctors  the 
health  of  the  Navy  improved  during  the  war 
in  spite  of  shock  and  alarm,  and  the  long  weari- 
ness of  inaction.  In  fact,  the  health  of  the 
Navy  had  never  been  so  good.  Writing  in  the 
first  war  number  of  The  Practitioner,  Surgeon- 
General  Rolleston,  R.N.,  stated  that  the  health 
of  the  Navy  had  been  "much  bettor"  in  war 
than  in  peace  time,  and  that  the  figures  given 
(1  per  cent,  to  0'6  per  cent.)  would  have  been 
lower,  but  for  the  higher  percentage  incidence 
among  the  men  of  the  Royal  Naval  Reserve 
and  the  Royal  Naval  Volunteer  Reserve.  "  In 
two  battleships  with  a  complement  of  over 
1.000  each,"  ho  wrote,  "which  I  happened  to 
visit  on  two  successive  days,  there  were  only 
two  men  in  the  sick-bays.   .   .   ." 

Setting  aside  for  the  moment  the  work  of 
inoculation  and  of  inspection,  two  things 
undoubtedly  contributed  in  an  especial  degree 
to  this  splendid  result  :  these  were  improved 
systems  of  ventilation  and  the  instruction  in 
health  matters  given  by  the  doctors  to  the 
crews.  The  latter  was  indeed  a  most  important 
adjunct  to  success,  for  it  achieved  the  double 
purpose  of  enlisting  the  sympathy  of  the  men, 
and  of  opening  their  eyes  to  the  dangers  sur- 
rounding them.     Lacking  knowledge,  a  man  is 


5,  6. 

boards  partially  removed  from  their  slots.     3.  Canvas-cot  being  passed  into  carrier  on   the  rollers.     The 
hoisted  out.     5.   Patient  hoisted.     6.   Cot  and  carrier  being  passed  outboard. 

FROM    SHIP    TO    HOSPITAL :     A  COT-CARRIER. 


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THE    TIMES    HISTORY    OF    THE    WAR. 


253 


apt  to  chafe  under  restraints  placed  upon  him 
by  his  doctor  ;  possessing  that  knowledge,  he 
gladly  accepts  them,  and  may  even  carry  them 
a  stage  farther  on  his  own  behalf.  Sir  Arthur 
May,  whose  policy  was  ever  to  encourage  the 
friendliest  relations  between  patient  and  doctor, 
both  of  whom,  he  was  at  pains  to  emphasize,  he 
regarded  as  brother  "  sailor  men,"  was  an 
enthusiastic  supporter  of  the  lectures  on  health 
subjects  which  were  a  feature  of  battleship  life. 
He  reaped  a  speedy  reward,  for  the  men  entered 
into  the  spirit  of  their  medical  officers.  They 
showed  their  pleasure  by  taking  the  advice 
offered  to  them,  and  by  spreading  it  ;  the 
effects  were  soon  evident. 

The  lecturers  spoke  simply  of  the  great  fight 
with  disease  upon  the  issue  of  which  so  much 
depended.  They  told  of  the  terrible  effects 
of  dirt  and  insanitary  condition  among  men 
living  a  life  aboard  ship  in  quarters  necessarily 
cramped  ;  they  indicated  the  dangers  of  bad 
teeth,  of  abuse  of  tobacco  and  alcohol,  above  all 
of  venereal  disease.  Further,  they  gave  in- 
struction in  first  aid,  so  that  during  a  battle, 
when  the  doctor  could  not  be  reached,  help 
might  be  afforded  to  wounded  comrades.  The 
lectures  gave  the  men  a  new  interest,  and  helped 
to  brighten  the  monotony  of  the  long  winter 
evenings,  and  they  sowed  valuable  seed,  the 
fruits  of  which  were  gathered  during  the 
course  of  the  war. 

But  if  this  method  was  important,  the  work 
accomplished  upon  ventilation  was  revolu- 
tionary. Ventilation  ashore  is  important,  but 
not  perhaps  very  interesting  ;  ventilation  upon 
a  battleship  proved  to  be  often  a  matter  of  life 
and  death.  A  battleship  lived  by  her  ventila- 
tion, for  unless  the  air  below  decks  was  kept 
sweet  and  pure,  disease  had  an  opportunity  ; 
and  in  actual  combat  efficient  ventilation  was 
found  to  mean  clear  heads  and  eyes,  and  so  to 
double  the  fighting  capacity  of  the  men  in  the 
gun  turrets,  the  signallers  and  the  telephone 
operators  who  were  the  nerves  between  brain 
and  hand,  between  those  who  planned  and  those 
who  executed. 

The  ventilation  of  many  of  the  older  ships 
was  notoriously  bad,  and  the  crews  suffered 
in  consequence.  In  the  presence  of  the  fumes 
of  exploded  charges  good  shooting  became 
difficult  in  the  extreme.  On  the  other  hand,  a 
man  could  not  remain  in  that  condition  of 
physical  well-being  which  was  so  essential  to 
modern  scientific  fighting  if  he  was  being 
"  blown  away  "  by  a  strong  blast  of  air  pumped 


into  the  room  in  which  he  worked.  The 
difficulty  had  always  been  to  find  a  method  of 
ventilation  which  would  ensure  an  evenly 
distributed  supply  of  fresh  air  without  draughts 
The  air  should,  it  was  seen,  be  "  breathed  ' 
throughout  the  ship,  not  driven  in  blasts 
through  it. 

In- 1912  a  Committee,  with  Fleet  Surgeon 
R.  C.  Munday  as  Secretary,  was  appointed  by 
the  Admiralty  to  investigate  and  report  on 
the  best  methods  of  ventilating  modern 
warships.  It  is  no  exaggeration  to  say  that 
the  work  of  this  Committee  was  as  important 
in  its  way  as  the  work  of  those  who  devised 
the  huge  guns  they  did  so  much  to  render 
efficient.  A  new  era  in  naval  ventilation 
was  inaugurated.  By  means  of  most  ingenious 
devices  a  free  and  full  supply  of  warmed  air 
was  secured  for  every  part  of  the  ship  ;  while 
the  ventilation  of  destroyers  was  improved 
to  such  an  extent  that  even  the  fastest  of  them 
in  the  roughest  sea  could  have  their  living 
spaces  supplied  with  fresh  air  which  might 
be  warmed. 

Many  men  had  reason  during  the  fierce 
hours  of  the  Jutland  battle  of  May  31- June  1, 
1916,  to  bless  these  ventilation  schemes. 
In  the  gun  turrets  lives  were  saved  by  them, 
while  down  in  the  bowels  of  the  great  ships 
activities  were  made  possible  which  other- 
wise had  been  stayed  from  the  outset  of  the 
engagement. 

The  Battle  of  Jutland  Bank,  however,  was 
not  the  first  engagement  in  which  the  naval 
surgeon  had  opportunities  for  practising  his 
craft  in  actual  warfare.  In  a  hundred  small 
affairs  he  was  called  upon  to  play  his  part, 
and  played  it  as  na\'al  surgeons  from  the 
great  Beatty,  to  whom  Nelson  addressed  his 
last  brave  words,  onwards  have  ever  played 
their  parts.  At  the  Falkland  Islands,  at  the 
Cocos  Islands,  in  the  harbour  at  Zanzibar,  off 
Heligoland,  and  elsewhere  the  same  heroism 
characterized  this  Service,  and  the  same  quiet, 
brave  work  was  carried  on. 

It  is  impossible  in  a  chapter  such  as  this 
to  do  justice  to  all  these  deeds,  and  some  must 
be  passed  over  in  silence  ;  but  a  more  or  less 
careful  survey  is  essential  to  a  true  under- 
standing of  the  work  which  was  accomplished, 
for  our  naval  actions  were  very  few  as  com- 
pared with  the  actions  of  the  armies  in  the 
field,  and  each  possessed  special  features  in 
respect  of  time,  place  and  circumstance. 

111—3 


THE    TIMES    HISTORY    OF    THE    WAR. 


AN     AMBULANCE    TABLE. 

The    Mono-wheel    Stretcher    and    Carrier    devised 

by  the    Rev.  Bevill  Close,   Chaplain,    R.N.        I  his 

stretcher  was   used    in    the    trenches  of  the  Royal 

Naval  Division  at   Callipoli. 

The  naval  action  off  Heligoland  in  August, 
1914,  stands  first  in  chronological  order  and 
offers  a  good  illustration  of  the  state  of  affairs 
in  the  early  days  of  the  war.  Happily  an 
excellent  record  of  its  medical  aspect  was 
preserved  by  a  surgeon  who  played  his  part 
in  it.* 

"  On  28th  August  (says  this  writer)  '  action  ' 
was  sounded  off.  Two  cruisers  (supposed 
enemy's  ships)  having  been  suddenly  observed 
had  caused  us  to  take  up  '  stations  '  somewhat 

*  Th&  Naval  Action  off  Heligoland.  By  Fleet  Surgeon 
Walter  Hopkins,  R.N.  Journal  of  the  Royal  Naval 
Medical  Service. 


earlier  than  had  been  anticipated.  It  was 
quickly  discovered,  however,  that  the  cruisers 
were  our  own.  Shortly  after,  therefore,  break- 
fast was  piped  to  each  watch  in  turn,  and  at 
about  7  a.m.  the  enemy's  ships  were  actually 
sighted.  From  this  time  on  to  close  upon 
2  p.m.  successive  actions  were  fought  between 
various  opposing  forces  in  the  two  fleets. 

"  The  day  was  fine  and  calm,  while  the  sun 
gleamed  through  a  very  hazy  atmosphere  in 
which  patches  of  fog  shortened  up  the  visual 
distance  from  time  to  time.  I  remained  on 
the  upper  deck  during  the  earlier  part  of  the 
affair  and  found  it  a  most  interesting  and 
inspiring  sight  to  watch  our  destroyers  and  the 
Arethusa  and  her  divisions  dashing  at  full 
speed  after  the  enemy,  while  soon  the  frequent 
spurts  of  flame  from  their  sides,  the  following 
reports  and  the  columns  of  water  and  spray 
thrown  up  by  the  enemy's  shells  pitching 
short  or  over  began  to  create  in  most  of  us 
a  suppressed  excitement  which  we  had  not 
hitherto  experienced,  telling  us  that  the  '  real 
thing  '  had  begun,  that  an  action  was  actually 
in  progress. 

"  Shortly  our  interest  was  to  multiply  four- 
fold when  the  order  to  fire  our  own  guns  was 
given.  After  a  time,  shells  beginning  to  drop 
ominously  near,  I  retired  to  my  station,  a 
selected  spot  just  below  the  waterline  in  the 
after  bread-room,  one  of  the  few  available 
places  in  a  ship  of  this  class  where  some  of  my 
party  of  first-aid  men  could  be  accommodated  ; 
the  other  half  of  the  party,  in  charge  of  the 
sick-berth  steward,  being  situated  at  a  similar 
station  forward.  This  period  one  found  trying. 
For  knowledge  as  to  how  matters  were  pro- 
gressing we  had  to  rely  upon  fragments  of 
information  shouted  down  the  nearest  hatch- 
way from  someone  in  communication  with 
those  on  the  upper  deck. 

"  The  rat-tat-tat  !  rat,  tat,  tat,  tat,  on  our 
sides  from  time  to  time  as  we  got  into  the 
thick  of  it  told  vis  plainly  of  shells  pitching 
short  and  bursting,  whose  fragments  struck  but 
did  not  penetrate  the  ship's  skin  ;  it  was  a 
weird  sound,  occasionally  varied  by  a  tremen- 
dous '  woomp,'  which  once  at  least  made  the 
paymaster,  who  was  reclining  near  me  on  a 
flour-sack,  and  myself  look  hard  at  the  side 
close  by  us,  where  we  fully  expected,  for  the 
moment,  to  see  water  coming  in.  As  a  matter 
of  fact,  this  shell  entered  some  40  feet  away, 
bursting  an  entry  into  the  Lieutenant-Com- 
mander's   cabin,    while    its    solid    nose   finally 


THE    TIMES    HISTORY    OF    THE    WAR. 


255 


fetched  up  in  the  wardroom  where  later  on  it 
was  christened  '  our  honorary  member.' 
For  this  trophy  I  believe  we  have  the  Mainz 
or  the  Koln  to  thank.  The  wardroom  steward 
found  a  similar  piece  of  shell  in  his  hammock 
that  night.  It  had  penetrated  the  ship's  side 
and  a  bulkhead  before  finally  choosing  its  highly 
suitable  place  of  rest. 

"  The  Fearless  appears  to  have  borne  a 
somewhat  charmed  life — a  large  number  of 
shells  pitched  just  short  and  ju-t  over  her— 
she  was  hit  fair  and  square  by  seven,  one  of 
which  played  a  lot  of  havoc  with  middle  deck 
forward  and  the  mess  gear  there.  Her  sides 
showed  some  23  holes  of  varying  sizes,  and  yet 
her  list  of  casualties  was  only  eight  wounded, 
none  dangerously  ...  for  suppressed  excite- 
ment and  vivid  interest  I  should  say  that  the 
seeker  after  excitement  could  scarcely  ask 
for  more  than  a  modern  naval  action." 

The  eight  wounded  did  not  give  the  doctor 
very  much  work  to  do.  But  the  engagement 
revealed  the  fact  that  work  in  the  distributing 
station  of  a  warship  during  an  action  was 
of  a  kind  to  test  the  strongest  nerves,  and  that 
many  precautions  would  require  to  be  taken. 
The  doctor  was  ordered  presently  to  go  aboard 
the  Laertes,  which  had  been  taken  in  tow, 
and  there  he  found  some  severe  cases  awaiting 
him,  and  he  says  : 

"  Arriving  on  board  I  found  the  worst  case 
was  that  of  a  young  stoker  in  a  serious  condition 
from  shock  and  loss  of  blood.  Ho  had  sus- 
tained several  shell  wounds,  one  of  wliich 
involved  the  left  tibia  and  fibula.  .  .  .  Around 
this  patient  the  deck  was  covered  in  blood  and 
so  slippery  that  I  had  to  send  for  cloths  to  be 
put  down  to  enable  me  to  keep  a  footing. 
Near  by  were  two  others,  somewhat  less 
severely  wounded,  lying  on  the  deck,  while  just 
beneath  me  lay  two  figures  covered  with  the 
Union  Jack." 

Thanks  to  the  skill  of  their  comrades  the 
vounded  had  all  received  first  aid,  but  still 
considerable  haemorrhage  was  going  on. 

From  this  engagement  dated  the  knowledge 
that  in  modern  naval  action  wounds  were  either 
very  slight  or  else  terribly  severe.  Further,  the 
part  which  burns  were  to  play  in  swelling  the 
casualty  lists  became  evident.  Huge  areas  of 
burning  were  seen,  "  the  whole  length  of  the 
upper  limb  from  finger-tips  to  shoulder  as  well 
as  the  face,  ears,  neck,  and  upper  part  of  the 
chest."  Many  of  these  burns  were  inflicted 
by   the   flash    of   bursting   shells,    yet   it    was 


interesting  to  note  that  the  eyes  themselves 
almost  invariably  escaped  injury  by  the 
flame.  This  happened  even  in  cases  in 
which  the  eyebrows  and  eyelashes  had 
been  singed  and  the  skin  of  the  eyelk's 
badly  damaged.  It  proved  that  "  instan- 
taneous "  as  was  the  flash  of  the  bursting 
shells,  the  power  of  the  eye  to  detect  it  and 
protect  itself  against  it  was  quicker  in  its 
action.  The  eye  saw  and  the  brain  understood 
in  time  to  cause  the  eyelid  to  shut  before  the 
scorching  sheet  of  flame  could  do  its  work. 

These  burns  were  not  the  same  as  those 
caused  by  explosions  in  gun  turrets  which 
had  been  hit,  and  which  will  be  described  belr  w 


AN    AMBULANCE    SLING 
Devised  by  Fleet-Surgeon  P.    H.   Boyden. 


25G 


THE    TIMES    HISTORY    OF    THE    WAR. 


257 


They  were  usually  superficial,  and  it  was  to 
the  credit  of  the  naval  doctors  on  board  ship 
and  in  the  shore  hospitals  that  in  very  many 
instances  injuries  that  seemed  at  first  sight  to 
be  irreparable  were  so  treated  that  complete 
recovery  took  place  and  deformity  was  avoided. 
Dressings  of  picric  acid  were  found  to  be  most 
beneficial,  though  other  forms  of  treatment 
had  their  adherents — notably  the  method  of 
irrigating  by  salt  solution,  introduced  by  Sir 
AJmroth  Wright  during  the  war  and  described 
fully  in  an  earlier  chapter.* 

Of  the  total  of  27  cases  seen  by  this  doctor 
there  were  5  burns  or  scalds  and  22  shell  and 
splinter  wounds,  10  of  the  latter  cases  being 
Germans.  The  wounds  were  mostly  lacerated 
and  punctured,  deep  and  shallow,  of  all  shapes 
and  sizes  ;    several  of  them  involved  bones. 

The  men  bore  their  wounds  with  cheerful 
unconcern:  A  young  sub -lieutenant  was  found 
sitting  in  the  wardroom  with  his  leg,  which 
had  a  shell  wound  in  it,  stuck  up  on  a  chair. 
.  His  only  anxiety  was  to  get  back  to  his  work. 
Other  men  showed  the  same  spirit,  and  the 
Germans  were  not  behind  their  captors — and 
rescuers — in  this. 

The  wounds  healed  well,  but  it  became  clear 
that  the  fact  of  being  at  sea  did  not  save 
a  wounded  sailor  from  the  danger  of  blood- 
poisoning — it  had  been  believed  that  on  the 
sea  this  danger  was  small.  The  problem  of  the 
cleansing  of  wounds  which  loomed  so  large  in 
the  military  hospitals  of  France  and  Belgium 
at  this  time  therefore  engaged  the  attention 
of  the  naval  service  also,  and  solutions  of  it 
were  quickly  devised. 

This  battle  of  Heligoland  was  a  small  affair, 
then,  from  the  doctor's  point  of  view.  The 
list  of  casualties,  when  comparison  is  made 
with  the  Army,  seems  almost  ridiculous.  Any 
street  accident  might  yield  as  many.  But  it 
would  be  a  grave  mistake  to  suppose  that  on 
this  account  the  lessons  learned  were  unimpor- 
tant. On  the  contrary,  they  were  of  the 
highest  importance.  They  showed  the  doctors 
what  to  expect,  and  they  revealed  the  fact 
that  in  any  great  engagement,  where  smaller 
craft  might  be  expected  to  suffer  heavily,  the 
casualties  would  be  severe.  New  ideas  were 
generated  ;  new  possibilities  opened  up  ;  new 
methods  called  for. 

The  naval  medical  authorities  at  Whitehall 
profited    by    the    lesson    in   various   ways.     A 
Committee     presided     over     by     Sir     Watson 
*  See  Vol.  VI,  p.  57. 


Cheyne  was  set  to  work  to  consider  the  question 
of  the  treatment  of  wounds  ;  the  treatment  of 
burns  received  attention  ;  the  danger  from  the 
fumes  of  bursting  shells,  which  tended  to  sink 
down  on  the  decks  and  penetrate  to  the  cabins 
below  and  so  to  cause  suffocation,  was  con- 
sidered and  the  testing  of  respirators  begun 
forthwith.  These  steps  were  doubtless  in 
advance  of  actual  requirements,  but  on  the 
day  of  the  Battle  of  Jutland  Bank  they  had 
their  justification. 

Experience  dictated  the  modification  of  other 
arrangements  and  more  especially  of  the 
arrangements  for  the  safety  of  the  wounded 
during  action.  The  sick  bay  was  the 
ship's  hospital  during  periods  of  inaction,  and, 
thanks  to  the  work  of  Fleet  Surgeon  D.  W. 
Hewitt  and  Fleet  Surgeon  M.  C.  Langford, 
these  ships'  hospitals  were  splendidly  equipped 
and  had  been  brought  to  a  state  of  the  highest 
efficiency.  No  pains  had  been  spared  to  make 
them  as  complete  as  possible,  and  it  was  easy 
to  carry  out  any  surgical  measures  required  in 
them.  But  their  position  on  deck,  above  the 
armour,  rendered  them  quite  unsuitable  for 
use  during  a  battle,  and  against  this  contingency 
other  rooms  had  been  prepared  and  set  apart — 
a  precaution  the  wisdom  of  which  was  shown 
when  a  sick  bay  and  all  it  contained  was 
smashed  to  pieces  by  a  bursting  shell. 

These  other  rooms  were  known  as  distributing 
stations,  and  were  situated  one  forward  and  one 
aft,  under  the  armour.  It  was  essential  that  the 
transference  of  material  from  the  sick  bay  to 
the  distributing  stations  should  take  place  at 
the  earliest  possible  moment  after  the  call 
"  prepare  for  action,"  and  as  action  might  be 
imminent  at  any  moment,  day  or  night,  it  was 
necessary  that  all  preparations  should  be  so 
far  advanced  that  little  or  nothing  remained  to 
be  done  when  the  order  was  given. 

As  little  gear  as  possible  was,  therefore,  left 
in  the  sick  bay.  Further,  those  responsible  were 
advised  as  to  their  duties  and  trained  in  them. 
When  action  was  sounded,  the  water-tight 
compartments  were,  of  course,  closed  and  inter- 
communication became  impossible  ;  therefore 
mistakes  made  or  omissions  committed  could 
not  be  rectified.  A  man  had  then  to  do  the  best 
he  could  with  the  material  to  his  hand  and  he 
might  be  situated  in  very  terrible  circumstances 
for  the  doing  of  it.  Equipment  of  the  dis- 
tributing stations  was,  therefore,  of  paramount 
importance  and  received  careful  thought  and 
consideration. 


258 


THE    TIMES    HISTORY    OE     THE    WAR. 


The  difficulty  was  space.  But  ingenuity 
solved  this  and  made  it  possible  to  have  an 
operating  table  fully  rigged,  dressings,  anti- 
septics, and  other  appliances  always  ready,  and 
also  to  prepare  accommodation  for  the  wounded. 
As  we  shall  presently  see,  these  rooms  were 
destined  to  witness  some  strange  and  terrible 
spectacles  during  the  course  of  the  fighting. 
For  accommodation  of  the  wounded  after 
action,  the  best  available  compartments  in 
proximity  were  used  ;  by  special  fittings 
previously  prepared  the  wounded  could  be 
slung  in  stretchers  from  the  roof,  one  tier  of 
stretchers  above  the  other,  and  in  this  way 
a  large  number  could  be  taken  in  at  one  time. 


Ashore,  preparations  as  complete  as  those 
made  afloat  had  been  instituted,  and  the 
wounded  from  the  Heligoland  battle  were  thus 
soon  brought  to  great  comfort  in  well-equipped 
hospitals.  Some  of  them  came  to  the  Royal 
Naval  Hospital  at  Chatham,  which  they  reached 
within  24  hours  ot  being  struck  down.  In  each 
case  a  dose  of  anti-tetanic  serum  was  given  to 
secure  against  possible  attack  by  lockjaw  and 
careful  operative  measures  carried  out.  An 
arm,  a  leg,  and  an  eye  were  part  of  the  price  paid 
by  the  sailors  for  this  engagement,  and  some 
of  the  other  conditions  were  of  a  terrible 
character,  yet  the  cases  did  exceedingly  well  ; 
the  great   cheerfulness   of  the  men  and   their 


FROM    THE    GERMAN    COMMERCE    RAIDER. 
Prisoners  from  the   "  Emden  "  going  through  physical  drill  exercise  on  board  a  British  warship.     Captaiii 

Mu'ller  (x),  who  commanded  the   "  Emden." 


THE    TIMES    HISTORY    OF    THE    WAR. 


259 


LANDING     WOUNDED     AT     PLYMOUTH. 


heroic  attitude  even  when  suffering  the  most 
acute  pain  won  the  admiration  of  doctors  and 
nurses  alike. 

The  hospital  accommodation  at  the  disposal 
of  the  Navy  was  not  extensive  when  judged  by 
Army  standards,  but  of  its  efficiency  no  doubt 
could  exist.  There  were,  in  the  first  place,  the 
three  great  naval  hospitals — Haslar  (Ports- 
mouth), accommodating  1,434  patients  ;  Ply- 
mouth, accommodating  1,173  patients  ;  and 
Chatham,  accommodating  1,107  patients.  In 
addition  to  these,  the  Navy  had  numerous 
hospitals  in  the  British  Isles  accommodating 
some  11,129  patients,  and  further  possessed  a 
hospital  for  mental  diseases  at  Great  Yarmouth. 
Abroad,  there  were  naval  hospitals  at  Gibraltar 
and  Malta  and  other  points. 

Nor  was  private  help  wanting  to  add  to  these 
establishments.  Lady  Bute  converted  her 
house,  Mount  Stuart,  Isle  of  Bute,  into  a  Naval 
hospital,  and  it  was  fully  occupied  from  the 
beginning  of  the  war.  It  had  beds  for  125 
patients  and  proved  a  boon,  both  on  account 


of  its  beautiful  position  and  healthy  sur- 
roundings. Lady  Nunburnholme  also  made 
generous  offers  of  hospital  accommodation, 
and  provided  for  Naval  patients  a  fully  equipped 
hospital  for  220  patients  in  a  locality  where 
Naval  hospital  accommodation  was  much 
needed.  The  British  Red  Cross  Society 
equipped  a  hospital  for  160  patients  at  Truro, 
Cornwall,  and  the  Church  Army  one  for  100 


260 


THE     TIMES    HISTORY    OF    THE    WAR. 


THE    BATTLE    OF    JUTLAND    BANK,    MAY    31,    1916:    ADMIRAL  BEATTY'S 

Wrom  plutographst'l"" 


THE    TIMES    HISTORY    OF    THE    WAR. 


261 


Kj^"*^   — i fc 


BATTLE-CRUISERS    ENGAGING    THE    GERMAN    BATTLE-CRUISERS. 

duting  the  battle.) 


■2(i2 


THE    TIMES    HISTORY    OF    THE    WAB. 


patients  at  Dunvagel,  Lanark.  Princess  Christian 
provided  funds  with  which  the  former  bed 
accommodation  at  Queensferry  Hospital  was 
doubled,  and  Canadian  women  generously  sub- 
scribed a  sum  of  £40,000  with  which  a  new 
block  was  built  at  Haslar  Hospital.  In  addi- 
tion, many  kind  offers  of  help  flowed  in  to  the 
Admiralty  from  all  parts  of  the  country,  and 
were  accepted. 

The  wounded  men  reached  these  hospitals  by 
hospital  ship  and  hospital  train,  though  in  many 
cases  they  were  landed  directly  by  the  warship 
in  winch  they  had  been  serving.    Weather  and 


FOR    REST    AND    TREATMENT. 
From  hospital  ship  to  train.    A  train  at  Toulon  with 
wounded  passengers  about  to  start  for  the  Riviera. 

circumstance  were  the  determining  factors,  for 
manifestly  in  a  gale  transferences  could  not  be 
made  at  sea,  and,  again,  a  ship  which  had  been 
badly  hit  might  not  stay  in  her  rush  for  port  to 
unload  wounded.  As  a  rule  the  Grand  Fleet 
returned  to  its  anchorages  with  the  wounded 
aboard  ;  these  were  then  transhipped  to  the 
hospital  ships,  which  brought  them  to  some 
landing  port  whence  they  were  removed  to  a 
local  hospital,  or  if  able  to  travel  comfortably, 
put  on  the  ambulance  trains  for  transport  to 
one  or  other  of  the  naval  hospitals. 

The  Navy  owned  12  of  these  hospital  ships, 
splendid  vessels  fitted  with  every  kind  of 
surgical  appliance  and  fully  staffed  by  doctors. 
Of  these  12,  nine  were  constantly  employed  in 
home  waters  and  three  in  the  Mediterranean. 
The  trains  were  as  well  equipped  as  the  ships, 
and  the  hammock-like  cots  gave  them  a  distinctly 
naval  appearance.  The  system  was  an  admirable 
one,  for  it  allowed  of  thorough  cleansing  and 
ensured  that  no  bumping  should  disturb  the 
severely  wounded.  These  trains,  like  those  in 
use  for  the  transport  of  soldiers,  were  hospitals 
on  wheels  in  a  true  sense,  so  that  it  may  be  said 
that  from  the  moment  he  reached  the  dis- 
tributing station  on  his  own  ship  a  man  was 
never   out    of   the    doctor's  hands    or   cut   off 


THE    TIMES    HISTORY    OF    THE    WAR, 


263 


from  expert  attention.  As  the  distributing 
station  was  waiting  to  receive  him,  in  most 
cases,  the  moment  ho  fell,  his  chances  of 
salvation  were  excellent.  It  is  not  possible  to 
avoid  comparing  this  happy  lot  with  that  of 
the  wounded  soldier  eking  out  terrible  hours 
upon  the  No-man's  Land,  beyond  the  reach  of 
succour  until  darkness  should  have  covered 
him.  Yet  it  must  not  be  forgotten  that  against 
that  the  sailor  had  to  face  the  perpetual  peril 
of  mine  and  submarine  and  the  chance  that  at 
any  moment  his  ship  might  be  sunk  and  all 
chance  of  salvation  lost — for  how  should  a 
sorely  wounded  man  fare  in  the  great  hazard 
of  the  sea  ? 

The  naval  medical  service  played  its  part  in 
handling  the'  great  exodus  from  Belgium  in 
August,  1914,  and  also  in  treating  the  wounded 
from  the  ill-starred  Antwerp  expedition.  Men 
from  the  latter  were  taken  to  the  Chatham 
and  Plymouth  hospitals  ;  wounded  Belgian 
soldiers  were  transported  across  the  Channel 
in  the  hospital  ships  Plassy  and  Magic,  and 
about  2,000  wounded  French  soldiers  from 
Dunkirk  to  Cherbourg  in  the  hospital  ship 
China.  The  medical  officers  of  these  ships 
had  their  hands  very  full  during  the  voyages. 
The  wounds  seen  were  of  incredible  severity 
in  many  cases,  for  at  that  period  field  treat- 


ment was  not  in  the  advanced  stage  to  which 
it  came  later. 

Before  leaving  this  part  of  the  subject  the 
directions  issued  to  the  medical  staff  of  the 
Neptune  in  1913  for  dealing  with  wounded  may 
be  alluded  to.  They  serve  to  show  how  well  the 
difficulties  likely  to  be  encountered  had  been 
forestalled  ;  they  show  also  how  true  an  esti- 
mate of  the  actual  needs  had  been  formed.  The 
directions  were  divided  into  three  parts,  those 
"  On  Leaving  Port,"  those  "  During  Action," 
and  those  "  After  the  Action."  With  the  first 
two  we  have  already  been  concerned  ;  the  last 
provided  that  as  soon  as  the  action  was  over 
or  there  was  a  lull  the  stretcher  parties  would 
march  to  the  places  appointed,  as  shown  by 
luggage  labels  attached  to  the  stretchers.  They 
would  take  first-aid  bags  of  dressings  with  them 
and  hot  coffee  or  beef-tea  and  drinking  vessels. 
On  arrival  they  would  move  the  wounded  from 
the  turret  or  other  place  to  the  deck  and  out  of 
the  way  of  the  guns.  They  would  render  first 
aid  but  not  otherwise  move  the  wounded. 

The  senior  medical  officer  would  then  make 
a  rapid  tour  of  the  upper  deck  to  estimate  the 
number  and  condition  of  the  wounded,  and  give 
any  necessary  hypodermic  injections,  attaching 
labels  to  prevent  the  possibility  of  duplication. 
At  the  same  time  the  staff  surgeon  would  inspect 


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264 


THE    TIMES    HISTORY    OF    THE    WAR. 


265 


the  main  deck.  During  a  lull  the  surgeons 
would  supervise  the  removal  of  the  wounded 
to  a  place  below  the  armour,  where  they  would 
remain  under  care  till  the  end  of  the  action. 

Of  great  naval  actions  in  the  early  days  of  the 
war  there  were  few,  if  indeed  we  except  the 
battle  in  the  Pacific  and  the  battle  of  the  Falk- 
land Isles.  About  the  former  there  is  nothing 
to  be  said  so  far  as  the  surgeons  are  concerned, 
for  unhappily  the  disaster  which  overwhelmed 
our  ships  was  fatal  to  doctor  and  patient  alike. 
Of  the  latter  there  is  only  this  to  be  said — the 
total  British  casualties  in  this  great  battle  were 
10  men  killed  and  16  wounded.  This  battle, 
indeed,  illustrated  the  tremendous  hazard 
of  naval  warfare  and  showed  to  what  an 
extent  the  fate  of  ships  and  of  men  is  deter- 
mined by  gun  power  and  gun  reach. 

But  if  great  actions  were  very  few,  there 
occurred  a  number  of  small  actions  of  a  deeply 
interesting  kind.  Of  these  the  two  which  com- 
mand attention  most  evidently  were  that  be- 
tween the  Pegasus  and  the  Kbnigsberg  and  that 
between  the  Sydney  and  the  Emden,  for  these 
were  fights  of  a  special  character,  each  showing 
relatively  heavy  casualties  and  each  revealing 
the  naval  surgeon  in  a  heroic  light. 

The  action  between  the  Pegasus  and  the 
Konigsberg  took  place  off  Zanzibar  on  the 
morning  of  September  20,  1914.  The  Pegasus 
was  refitting  and  was  therefore  taken  unawares, 
and  though  a  brave  resistance  was  offered,  she 
suffered  heavily,  being  literally  battered  to 
pieces.  In  consequence  the  surgeon,  Fleet 
Surgeon  A.  J.  Hewitt,  R.N.,  found  himself  faced 
with  the  following  casualty  list — 24  men  of  the 
Pegasus  and  1  native  servant  killed,  8  officers 
and  69  men  wounded.  Of  the  3  officers  and 
25  men  admitted  to  the  European  hospital  2 
officers  and  4  men  died  the  same  day,  and  sub- 
sequently 8  more  men  died  of  their  wounds. 

When  the  action  began,  two  collectingstations 
for  the  wounded  were  selected,  the  stokers'  mess 
deck  forward  on  the  lower  deck  below  the  sick 
bay  and  the  torpedo  flat  aft,  on  the  lower  deck 
below  and  forward  of  the  ward-room.  The 
deck  of  these  spaces  was  about  four  to  six  inches 
below  the  water-line.  The  sick  berth  steward 
had  charge  of  one  station  and  he  was  assisted 
by  a  cook  from  the  galley,  the  foremost  stretcher 
party  and  forecastle  party,  the  other  station  was 
in  charge  of  the  ship's  surgeon,  who  was  assisted 
by  one  cook  and  the  after  stretcher  parties  and 
the  poop  bearer  party.  On  action  being  soun- 
ded the  cooks  brought  with  them  to  their  respec- 


tive stations  a  "  fanny  "  of  hot  water  and  some 
cold  water. 

Each  gun  had  been  supplied  with  a  canvas  bag 
containing  a  tourniquet,  in  case  of  bleeding, 
bandages,  and  other  appliances.  These  bags 
were  secured  under  the  shields  of  the  guns.  A 
similar  bag  had  been  supplied  to  the  fore-bridge, 
and  various  other  precautions,  which  were  now 
fully  justified,  had  been  taken. 

In  his  report  on  the  action  published  in  the 
"  Journal  of  the  Royal  Naval  Medical  Service  " 
Fleet  Surgeon  Hewitt  stated  that  the  most  re- 
markable feature  of  the  wounds  was  the  large 
number  of  minute  superficial  wounds  and  burns 
looking  like  the  pitting  of  black  powder,  also  the 
small  penetrating  power  of  the  fragments  in  open 
spaces  like  the  iipper  deck.  The  clanger  zone, 
so  far  as  life  was  concerned,  seemed  to  be 
confined  to  a  small  area  round  the  bursting 
space,  and  although  the  initial  velocity  of  the 
fragments  appeared  to  be  very  great,  this  seemed 
to  diminish  rapidly,  perhaps  owing  to  the 
irregularity  of  their  shape.  For  example,  a  large 
number  of  fragments  were  removed  at  a  depth 
of  from  two  to  four  inches,  some  embedded  in 
bone  and  some  in  the  soft  tissues.  In  two 
penetrating  wounds  of  the  skull  the  entrance 
wounds  were  of  identical  shape  and  size  with  the 
shell  fragments  found,  but  in  neither  case  did 
the  missile  penetrate  more  than  four  inches. 
A  leading  seaman  had  his  right  arm  so  shattered 
that  a  primary  amputation  was  necessary,  but  a 
fragment  of  the  same  shell  hit  the  brass  buckle 
of  his  belt,  breaking  it  but  not  even  bruising  the 
abdomen.  "  Small  fragments  "  (continued  Fleet 
Surgeon  Hewitt)  "  were  also  the  cause  of  the  loss 
of  four  eyes,  and  I  am  of  opinion  that  a  pair  of 
motor  goggles  would  have  saved  all  these.  A 
case  of  aneurysmal  varix  occurred  in  the  right 
common  carotid  and  jugular  vessels  caused  by 
a  minute  particle  of  shell  which  probably  could 
have  been  stopped  by  a  linen  collar.  In  my 
opinion  a  coat  of  light  chain  armour,  or  even 
leather,  with  a  pair  of  goggles  made  from 
toughened  motor  screen  glass  would  be  invalu- 
able to  captains  of  destroyers,  navigators  and 
others  in  exposed  positions  who  are  likely  to 
encounter  ships  armed  with  similar  guns." 

These  suggestions  were  made  at  a  period  long 
before  our  soldiers  and  those  of  our  Allies  wore 
helmets  in  the  trenches  ;  they  were  reproduced 
in  an  article  on  the  need  of  protective  shields 
and  helmets  which  appeared  in  The  Times  in 
the  summer  of  1915,  and  the  effects  of  which 
were     soon     evident     in     France.       Thus     the 


266 


THE     TIMES    HISTORY    OF    THE    WAR. 


SURVIVORS    OF    H.M.S. 

Eight  minutes   after  the  warsh 

experience  gained  in  Zanzibar  was  destined  to 
help  in  the  agitation  which  secured  for  our 
soldiers  the  great  additional  safeguard  which 
helmets  proved  to  be. 

Many  of  the  wounds  met  with  in  the  Pegasus 
were  of  a  terrible  description  and  showed  the 
devastating  effect  of  naval  gunfire.  A  leading 
stoker  had  his  shoulder  smashed  to  pulp,  another 
poor  fellow  had  both  eyes  and  the  whole  upper 
part  of  his  face  shot  away,  broken  limbs  and 
lacerated  flesh  were  seen  on  every  hand. 

"  Most  of  the  casualties,"  the  doctor  wrote, 
"  occurred  on  the  upper  deck,  and  the  scene  that 
this  presented  can  scarcely  be  imagined.  Yet 
there  was  very  little  noise  on  board  from  the 
wounded,  and  one  was  impressed  by  the  death- 
like silence  between  the  periods  of  appalling  din 
caused  by  the  salvoes.  Although  the  ship  was 
in  harbour  and  only  a  short  distance  from  the 
shore  no  one  attempted  to  jump  overboard  and 
there  was  no  panic.  The  moral  of  the  men  was 
magnificent." 

In  this  inferno  the  doctor,  Fleet  Surgeon 
Hewitt,  went  about  his  work  according  to  the 
grand  tradition  of  the  service  he  represented. 
The  fumes  of  the  high  explosive  powder  had  a 
stupefying  effect,  causing  a  feeling  of  dizziness  ; 
the  bursting  of  the  shells  smote  the  decks  with 
blasts  of  air  which  had  an  unnerving  effect ; 
but  the  good  work  was  not  suffered  to  fail  on 
that  account.  Indeed,  the  awful  scene,  so  far 
as  it  affected  himself,  was  dismissed  by  the 
doctor    in    a    line :     "  I    personally   had    been 


MAJESTIC,"    MAY    27,    1915. 
ip  was  torpedoed   by  a  submarine. 

breathing  more  deeply  than  normal  in  assisting 
a  wounded  man  up  a  ladder  from  the  after 
torpedo-flat  where  these  fumes  were  particularly 
dense,  and  experienced  a  feeling  of  nausea  and 
dizziness.  For  several  days  aft3rwards  on  deep 
breathing  one  seemed  to  exhale  the  fumes." 

The  wounded  were  taken  from  the  Pegasus 
by  boats  from  the  cable-layer  Banffshire  as 
soon  as  the  firing  ceased.  All  had  first  aid 
dressings  applied  and  nearly  all  the  serious 
cases  had  had  a  hypodermic  injection  of 
morphia.  All  were  landed  within  an  hour.  The 
landing  was  difficult  owing  to  a  rapidly  ebbing 
tide  and  boats  being  required  to  return  and 
stand  by  the  ship  as  soon  as  the  wounded  were 
landed,  for  it  looked  as  if  it  would  be  necessary 
to  abandon  the  ship. 

Probably  this  action  was,  individually,  the 
most  terrible  of  the  first  year  of  war,  so  far  as 
the  doctor  was  concerned.  Fleet  Surgeon  Hewitt 
faced  his  ordeal  single-handed,  and  splendidly 
did  he  vindicate  the  good  name  of  the  medical 
service.  His  quiet  courage  and  his  ability 
undoubtedly  went  far  to  mitigate  a  most  fearful 
situation,  to  save  gallant  lives,  and  to  relieve 
the  pains  of  those  sorely  injured. 

The  action  between  the  Sydney  and  the 
Emden  attracted  the  attention  of  the  whole 
world.  The  exploits  of  the  German  raider  had 
added  to  her  name  a  romantic  association  ; 
her  destruction,  w-hen  it  came,  was  hailed  with 
feelings  in  which  admiration  had  a  large  place. 

The  Emden  was  sighted  about  9  a.m.  and  the 


THE     TIMES    HISTORY    OF    THE    WAR. 


267 


battle  began  shortly  afterwards.  The  doctors 
soon  found  themselves  busy.  The  senior  medical 
officer  had  begun  a  tour  of  the  guns  as  soon  as 
the  raider  was  sighted.to  see  if  the  first-aid  bags 
were  ready,  but  before  he  could  return  to  his 
station  the  guns  of  the  Sydney  had  opened 
fire.  The  Emden  soon  returned  the  fire  and 
within  five  to  ten  minutes  from  the  beginning 
of  the  action  the  first  wounded  man  was  brought 
below.  He  had  a  fracture  of  the  right  leg  and 
thirteen  shell  wounds  and  was  in  great  pain. 
Following  him  came  a  stream  of  wounded 
demanding  immediate  attention.  The  second 
case  had  been  shot  in  the  chest  and  the  apex  of 
the  heart  was  seen  beating  through  a  hole  in  the 
chest  wall.  Many  of  the  other  wounds  were  of 
a  dreadful  character. 

At  11.15  a.m.  the  order  "Cease  fire  "  was 
sounded.  The  medical  staff  had  now  been 
working  two  hours  in  a  confined  atmosphere  at  a 
temperature  of  105°  F. 

"  During  the  action,"  wrote  Surgeon  Leonard 
Darby,  R.A.N.,  in  the  "  Journal  of  the  Royal 
Naval  Medical  Service,"  "  the  spaco  below  was 
very  congested,  the  tunnel  being  fidl  of  men 
belonging  to  the  ammunition  and  fire  parties. 
At  the  best  of  times  there  is  little  room  here,  so 
the  regular  transport  of  wounded  was  con- 
siderably impeded.  All  the  time  we  knew  not 
how  the  fight  was  going — we  could  only  hear 
orders  for  ammunition  and  the  continual  rapid 
fire  of  our  guns.  At  one  time,  when  we  heeled 
over   and  the   operating  tablo  took   charge,   it 


seemed  as  though  the  ship  had  been  badly  hit, 
but  we  soon  found  out  that  this  was  only  due  to 
a  sudden  alteration  of  course." 

The  wounded  meantime  were  in  considerable 
pain  and  every  effort  was  being  made  to  help 
them.  As  soon  as  possible  after  the  action  the 
sick  bay  was  prepared  as  an  operating  theatre. 
This  meant  hard  work,  because  during  the  battle 
this  room  had  been  flooded  with  water  from  the 
fire  mains.  Moreover,  the  task  of  getting  the 
wounded  up  to  the  operating  room  and  dealing 
with  them  was  not  made  easier  by  the  continual 
arrival  of  new  patients  in  the  shape  of  German 
sailors  fished  up  out  of  the  water,  most  of 
whom  were  in  a  very  collapsed  state  indeed 
One  man  had  been  in  the  shark -infested  sea 
for  nine  hours,  but  was  brought  round  after 
some  trouble  and  next  day  was  none  the  worse 
for  his  immersion. 

Operative  surgery  was  therefore  not  begun 
in  earnest  until  the  day  after  the  battle.  This 
was  inevitable,  for  the  wounded  demanded 
constant  attention  at  first.  Early  in  the  morn- 
ing of  that  day  (November  10,  1914)  the  Sydney 
had  reached  Cocos  Island  and  shipped  the 
Eastern  Extension  Telegraph  Company's  Sur- 
geon, Dr.  H.  S.  Ollerhead,  to  help  with  the 
German  wounded.  This  addition  to  the  staff 
was  welcome — the  Sydney  carried  two  medical 
officers  of  her  own — and  operations  began  at 
once. 

"  Our  chief  difficulties "  (wrote  Surgeon 
Darby)     "  were    lack     of     space     and    trained 


SURVIVORS    IN    BLANKETS    AFTER    BEING    RESCUED    FROM    THE     DISASTER. 


268 


THE    TIMES    HISTORY    OF    THE    WAR. 


2G9 


assistance,  and  we  had  vised  up  all  the  sterile 
towels  on  the  day  of  the  action  ;  also  there 
was  much  delay  in  getting  instruments  re- 
sterilized  .  .  Late  in  the  day  we  organized 
a  theatre  staff  from  volunteers.  They  helped 
to  clear  up,  held  basins,  handed  stores  and 
dressings,  and  did  much  remarkably  useful' 
work  with  a  composure  that  was  astonishing,  as 
they  were  present  at  many  bloody  operations  to 
which  none  of  them  previously  had  been  in  any 
way  accustomed.  Surgeon  Wild  acted  as 
anaesthetist  and  Dr.  Ollerhead  assisted  me  with 
the  operations." 

The  operations  went  on  all  day,  the  doctors 
as  usual  refusing  to  spare  themselves  until 
their  patients  had  been  given  every  possible 
attention.  Next  day  the  Sydney  returned  to 
the  Emden,  which  was  flying  signals  of  distress, 
and  arrangements  began  for  transferring  about 
80  German  wounded.  All  available  stretchers, 
hammocks  and  cots  were  sent  to  the  Emden 
with  a  party  under  Dr.  Ollerhead,  who  did  not 
return  till  the  last  patient  left  the  ship  some 
four  hours  later.  Even  then  some  men  who  had  - 
got  ashore  could  not  be  brought  off  till  next  day, 
November  12. 

This  transhipping  was  an  exceedingly  difficult 
business,  as  there  was  a  huge  surf  running  on 
the  beach  where  the  Emden  was  ashore  ;  the 
collecting  and  lowering  of  the  wounded  into  the 
boat  was  attended,  unavoidably,  by  a  good  deal 
of  pain.  The  wounded  were  taken  aboard  the 
Sydney  in  the  cots  and  stretchers  by  means  of 
davits,  but  there  was  no  davit  available  in  the 
Emden.  One  German  surgeon  was  uninjured, 
but  he  had  been  unable  to  do  much,  having  had 
24  hours  with  so  many  wounded  on  a  battered 
ship,  with  none  of  his  staff  left  and  with  very  few 
dressings,  lotions,  or  instruments. 

"  The  Emden,"  says  Surgeon  Darby,  "  was 
riddled  with  gaping  holes  ;  it  was  with  difficulty 
one  could  walk  about  her  decks,  and  she  was 
gutted  with  fire.  The  wounds  of  the  Germans 
who  were  brought  off  to  the  Sydney  by  this 
time,  only  24  to  30  hours  after  injury,  were 
practically  all  very  septic,  with  maggots  \  in. 
in  length  crawling  over  them.  Little  had 
boon  done  for  them,  but  now  they  were  attended 
to  by  our  party  and  transhipped  to  us  as 
quickly  as  possible." 

This  fresh  rush  of  cases  soon  crowded  out  the 
wardroom  and  the  sick  bay  had  to  be  used  as  a 
dressing  station.  Soon  there  was  scarcely  any 
room  to  move,  for  besides  the  70  wounded 
received  that  day  there  were  over  100  prisoners 


and  20  Chinamen  from  the  sunken  collier  which 
had  been  attending  on  the  Emden.  Operations 
had  thus  to  be  discontinued  at  noon  on  Novem- 
ber 11,  but  they  began  again  at  6  p.m.  and  did 
not  stop  till  4.30  a.m.  on  November  12 — a 
period  of  10|  hours  of  continuous  operating. 
The  German  surgeon  stood  at  the  table  beside 
his  English  professional  brethren  and  took  his 
share  of  the  work. 

"  All  this  time,"  Surgeon  Darby  concluded, 
"  we  had  to  organize  and  arrange  a  hospital 
with  its  equipment  and  the  feeding  and  nursing 
of  patients  ;  up  to  now  this  was  turned  over 
to  the  first-aid  and  volunteer  nursing  party, 
and  they  received  the  cases  straight  from  the 
theatre.  In  the  case  of  the  Germans  we  had 
a  party  told  off  from  the  prisoners  to  help  our 
staff.  We  had  two  large  wards,  the  wardroom 
and  the  waist  deck,  and  various  special  wards, 
a  few  cabins  being  given  up  by  officers.  .  .  . 
By  nightfall  (November  12)  one  could  look 
round  with  a  feeling  that  some  impression  had 
been  made  on  the  work,  and  later  that  evening 
the  German  surgeon  and  myself  went  round 
sorting  out  the  cases  we  could  send  off  next 
day  to  the  Empress  of  Russia,  an  armed  liner 
which  had  been  dispatched  to  help  us  with 
the  wounded  and  relieve  us  of  our  230  extra 
men.  It  would  be  difficult,"  added  this  gallant 
medical  officer,  "  to  imagine  a  more  severe 
test  for  the  medical  staff  of  a  cruiser."  All 
credit  then  to  those  who  faced  the  test  and 
emerged  from  it  triumphantly. 

These  two  isolated  actions  show  clearly  ol 
what  splendid  material  our  Naval  Medical 
Service  was  constituted.  Aboard  ship  the 
doctors  combined  with  their  professional  know- 
ledge a  seaman's  power  of  adapting  himself  to 
circumstances  and  of  adapting  circumstances 
to  the  need  of  the  moment. 

This  spirit  was  shown  again  and  again,  but 
never  more  conspicuously  than  on  board  the 
Tiger  during  the  North  Sea  action  of  January  24, 
1915.  The  Tiger  went  into  action  on  that 
day  at  7.15  a.m.,  and  at  9.3  the  first  shot  was 
fired.  Fleet  Surgeon  John  R.  Muir  had  origin- 
ally intended  to  deal  with  the  cases  seriatim 
as  they  came  to  him,  operating  on  each  one  at 
once  ;  he  soon  found  that  this  was  an  Utopian 
idea.  The  violent  concussion  from  a  gun  turret 
near  by  made  operation  an  utter  impossibility 
and  necessitated  the  use  of  first-aid  methods 
only.  At  10.50  an  urgent  telephone  message 
came  down  to  the  doctor  from  "  Q  "  turret 
asking  for  a  medical  officer  and  an  ambulance 


THE    TIMES    HISTORY    OF    THE    WAN. 


AT    THE    DARDANELLES. 
Admiral    de    Robeck    inspecting    sailors    on    board 

H.M.S.  "  Canopus." 
party.  The  doctor,  however,  knew  that  it 
was  impossible  to  handle  men  in  stretchers 
through  the  working  chambers  and  going  on 
deck  was  not  to  be  thought  of.  He  refused 
the  request  and  soon  found  he  had  done  wisely. 
The  wounded  readily  found  their  way  to  the 
dressing  stations  themselves. 

About  11.30  a  12  in.  shell  entered  the  dis- 
tributing office  on  the  upper -deck.  This  shell 
was  very  destructive  because  it  exploded 
upwards. 

"  Tt  blew  up  the  trap  hatch  in  the  roof  of  the 
distributing  office,"  wrote  Fleet  Surgeon  Muir 
("Journal  of  the  K.oyal  Naval  Medical  Ser- 
vice"), "which  communicated  with  the  gun 
control  tower,  killed  one  officer  who  was 
standing  on  the  hatch,  seriously  wounded 
another,  and  severely  scorched  the  face  of  a, 
third,  all  of  whom  were  in  the  gun  control 
tower.  In  its  explosion  in  the  distributing 
office  it  killed  six  men  and  wounded  five  men. 
In  the  port  6  in.  gun  control  the  same  shell 
killed  a  boy  and  injured  a  midshipman  and 
two  boys. 

"  An  urgent  telephone  message  was  received 
from  the  gun  control  tower  and  an  ambulance 
party  was  sent  off  in  charge  of  a  surgeon  to  see 
what  could  be  done.     This  party  had  consider- 


able difficulties,  as  the  lights  had  all  gone  out,  the 
alley  way  was  wrecked  and  the  escape  up  past 
the  distributing  office,  which  was  the  only 
possible  route,  was  blown  to  bits  and  threatened 
by  fire  from  the  intelligence  office,  which  was 
immediately  below  the  distributing  office. 
Thanks  to  the  heroism  and  bravery  displayed 
by  a  sick  berth  attendant  and  two  boys  all  the 
cases  mentioned  except  one,  who  was  discovered 
after  the  action  was  over,  were  brought  down  to 
the  forward  distributing  station. 

"  When  they  arrived  seven  were  dead  or 
expired  as  they  were  laid  on  the  floor.  The  dead 
were  laid  on  one  side  as  decently  and  quickly 
as  possible,  covered  with  a  flag,  and  the  wounded 
attended  to.  .  .  .  There  was  complete  absence 
of  moaning  or  complaints.  The  explosion  of 
the  shells  caused  a  black,  oily,  sooty  deposit  in 
the  skin  of  nearly  all  these  patients.  This  was 
readily  removed  with  turpentine,  but  nothing 
else  seemed  to  have  any  effect.  Soap  and  water 
and  spirit  were  useless." 

During  the  summer  and  aaitumn  of  1915 
the  naval  doctor  had  opened  up  to  him  a  new 
field  of  operation  in  the  Dardanelles.  Through- 
out the  Gallipoli  campaign  the  naval  medical 
service    cooperated    with   that   of    the  Army, 


4' 

V  >                        -  r.%*                      1 

T^Sm: 

m                     1         B* 

^■1 

R  L-**fc  1 

f™3   .     - 

FROM    THE    DARDANELLES. 

Wounded    being    landed    from    a    hospital    ship    at 
Plymouth. 


THE    TIMES    HISTORY    OF    THE    WAR. 


271 


AT    THE    DARDANELLES. 
Transferring  wounded  from  a  British  warship. 


rendering  most  valuable  assistance  and,  indeed, 
so  far  solving  the  difficulty  of  the  transport  of 
wounded  from  the  shore  as  to  convert  a  situa- 
tion of  grave  anxiety  into  one  of  comparative 
security.  Naval  hospital  ships  were  in  attend- 
ance, and  one  of  the  largest  of  these  was  the 
Soudan,     of     which     Fleet     Surgeon     Trevor 


Collingwood,  R.N.,  was  the  Senior  Medical 
Officer.  On  February  25  this  ship  arrived 
at  Tenedos,  and  in  the  evening  of  the  same 
day  seven  wounded  were  transferred  to  her 
from  the  Agamemnon,  which  showed  signs 
of  having  been  hit  by  a  shell.  The  following 
day  a  party  of  men  landed  from  the  Vengeance 


THE     TIMES    HISTUEY    OF    THE    WAR. 


and  the  Irresistible  and  more  wounded  arrived. 
Other  wounded  came  in,  and  then,  on 
March  6,  two  flight  officers  fell  from  a  con- 
siderable height  into  the  sea  and  had  to  be 
succoured.  Wounded  were  taken  in  from  time 
to  time  until  March  22,  when  the  Soudan  left 
for  Malta  and  landed  113  cases.  It  is  interest- 
ing to  note  that  there  were  no  cases  of  gangrene 
and  only  one  case  of  tetanus,  which  resulted 
from  shell  wounds  ;  this  must  be  considered 
somewhat  exceptional. 

This  first  voyage  of  the  hospital  ship  took 
place  before  the  great  landing  on  the  beach,  and 
it  compares  strangely  with  the  second  voyage, 
which  ended  on   April   25,   when  the   Soudan 


appeared  again  off  the  entrance  to  the  Dar- 
danelles. By  the  evening  of  that  day  no  fewer 
than  10  military  officers  and  342  soldiers  had 
been  received  ;  by  8  p.m.  a  total  of  430  cases 
were  aboard,  and  the  sliip  drew  off  in  order  to 
allow  the  staff  to  work  in  quietness.  They 
performed  numerous  operations,  and  then  on 
April  27  all  the  wounded  were  transferred  to  a 
so-called  "  hospital  carrier  ship  "  and  taken  to 
Alexandria.  Subsequently,  in  Ma}',  411  Anzac 
soldiers  were  treated  in  five  days.  During  this 
period  only  four  naval  wounded  were  received 
from  the  Amethyst,  which  had  been  under  fire 
at  Smyrna — a  fact  which  emphasized  once 
more  the  difference  between  sea  and  land 
fighting. 

The  hospital  ship  Rewa  also  rendered  splendid 
service  at  the  Gallipoli  beaches  between  June 
and  August  1915,  during  which  time  she  carried 
some  7,000  cases.  It  was  noted  by  her  medical 
officers  that  while  it  seemed  to  matter  little 
what  types  of  antiseptics  they  used  to  clean 
the  wounds,  efficient  cleansing  was  all-impor- 
tant ;  and  they  observed  further  that  the  length 
of  time  which  elapsed  between  the  infliction 
of  a  wound  and  its  attention  on  board  the  ship 
was  an  important  determining  factor  upon  the 


HEROES    OF     1HE    JUTLAND    BANK    BATTLE. 
Wounded  seamen  enjoying  a  trip  in  Surrey. 


THE    TIMES    HISTORY    OF    THE    WAR. 


27B 


result  of  treatment  The  doctors  had  an 
interesting  proof  of  their  view,  for  they  had 
cases  sent  to  them  from  three  different  beaches, 
each  one  situated  at  a  different  distance  from 
the  ship  than  the  others. 

Hellas  Beach  provided  by  far  .  the  most 
septic  type  of  case.  The  average  time  which 
elapsed  between  wounding  and  arrival  on  board 
was  from  22  to  24  hours,  some  cases  spending 
as  long  as  three  days  on  the  journey.  The 
reason  lay  in  the  distance  of  the  front-line 
trenches  from  the  beach  and  also  the  exposed 
character  of  the  intervening  territory.  These 
patients  too  suffered  much  from  insects  and 
were  hoisted  aboard,  in  the  words  of  the  medical 
staff,  "  black  with  flies,"  and  very  soon  after 
the  first  load  or  two  had  been  received  "  the 
decks  and  wards  are  also  black  with  flies." 
Many  wounds  were  found  on  arrival  to  be 
already  swarming  with  maggots.  Gas  gan- 
grene came  from  this  beach  and  from  this 
beach  only. 

The  best  beach  was  the  Anzac  Beach, 
where  the  front  line  of  trenches  was  near  the 
shore,  and  the  a\'erage  time  taken  to  put  men 
on  board  after  they  had  been  wounded  was 
five  to  six  hours.  Also  the  Anzac  soldiers 
were  very  fine  men  physically  ;  and  the  flies 
were  fewer.  Suvla  came  between  Hellas  and 
Anzac,  the  time  here  being  between  nine  and 
ten  hours. 

This  experience  corresponded  with  the 
general  experience  of  the  war  and  made  rapid 
evacuation  of  wounded  a  matter  of  paramount 
importance  everywhere.  It  bore  out  the  view 
stated  by  Sir  Almroth  Wright  that  it  was  not 
the  wound  which  killed,  but  the  dirt — bacteria 
and  flies'  eggs — introduced  into  the  wound. 

The  experience,  however,  meant  that  when 
a  batch  of  wounded  arrived  in  this  and  other 
hospital  ships  the  staffs  had  to  work,  literally, 
till  they  dropped.  Every  moment  of  delay- 
meant  so  much  more  danger  for  the  wounded — 
not  merely  so  much  more  discomfort.  Great 
as  the  tasks  were  which  often  faced  these 
doctors,  they  did  not  spare  themselves  ;  in 
four  trips  they  actually  performed  383  opera- 
tions of  various  kinds,  and  that  number  does  not 
include  a  host  of  smaller  measures  :  for  example, 
easy  removal  of  bullets.  A  number  of  interest- 
ing tacts  emerged  from  this  huge  body  of  work, 
not  the  least  of  which  was  that  the  men  as  a 
whole  took  anaesthetics  exceedingly  well.  The 
reason  was,  perhaps,  that  alcohol  had  not  been 
consumed    in    any    quantity    for    a    long    time. 


IN    A    SUBMARINE. 
Men  from  the  engine  room  enjoying  the  sunshine. 

"  Most  text-books,"  wrote  one  of  the  doctors, 
"  give  tobacco  as  a  reason  for  ansesthetic 
difficulties,  but  this  did  not  seem  to  be  the 
case,  as  smoking  amongst  all  of  them  is  quite 
heavy,  especially  cigarettes,  and  indeed  a  good 
proportion  of  them  arrived  on  the  table  with  a 
cigarette  in  their  mouth." 

Nursing  sisters  of  the  Queen  Alexandra's 
R.N.  Nursing  Service  rendered  splendid  help 
in  these  hospital  ships  which  lay  off  the  terrible 
Gallipoli  beaches,  and  their  task  wa^  no  less 
onerous  and  exacting  than  that  of  the  doctors. 
They  did  not  spare  themselves  in  any  way,  and 
a,n  idea  of  what  they  had  to  do  may  be  gathered 
from  the  following  account  written  by  one  of 
them,  Nursing  Sister  Hilda  F.  Chibnall 
("Journal  of  the  Royal  Naval  Medical  Ser- 
vice ")  : 

"  Our  chief  difficulties  are  the  endless 
struggles  to  get  them  (the  patients)  properly 
clean  and  decently  clothed,  to  endeavour  to 
combat  the  acute  collapse,  exhaustion,  and 
mental  shock  from  which  many  of  them  are 
suffering  when  they  reach  us — especially  those 
from  Hellas  Beach,  who  have  often  been  lying 
out  for  24  or  36  hours  without  food,  exposed 
to  the  sun  and  tormented  with  flies — and  the 
hopelessness  of  trying  to  make  comfortable 
the  men  who  are  wounded  in  so  many  different 
places  that  they  can  find    no  easy  position  in 


274 


THE    TIMES    HISTORY    OF    THE    WAR. 


which  to  rest.  They  all  arrive  on  board  in  the 
clothes  they  have  worn  for  many  weeks  or 
months  ;  these  are  usually  quite  stiff  with 
blood  and  sand,  alive  with  vermin,  and  almost 
black  with  flies.  .  .  .  The  dressings  are  done 
under  some  difficulty,  especially  in  rough 
weather,  and  the  most  fortunate  people  are 
those  who  are  slightly  built  and  can  easily 
squeeze  between  the  cots ;  light  wooden 
dressing  tables  have  been  made  by  the  car- 
penter's crew,  easily  carried  along  the  gangway 
but  large  enough  to  hold  all  that  is  necessary, 

"  Work  in  the  operating  theatres  is  very 
different  from  anything  we  have  ever  seen 
before.  .  .  .  The  patients  have  had  no  previous 
preparation.  They  are  carried  straight  on  to 
the  table  and  their  dirty  blood-stained  clothes 
have  to  be  cut  right  off  and  the  skin  scrubbed 
clean  before  any  actual  surgery  can  begin. 

"  Owing  to  the  tremendous  number  of 
dressings  done  in  the  ship  each  day  we  fird 
that  keeping  up  the  stock  is  a  very  big  item 
in  our  work.  There  is  no  time  to  cut  up 
dressings  when  the  ship  is  full  of  patients,  but 
after  landing  them  at  a  port  on  our  return 
voyage  to  the  Peninsula  we  all  work  hard  to 
make  up  and  sterilize  sufficient  dressings  for 
the  next  trip  As  our  numbers  are  limited 
only  one  night  sister  can  be  on  duty  at  a  time, 
and  with  so  many  cases  in  the  ship  her  task  is 
not  particularly  easy.  However,  on  one  point 
we  are  all  agreed — that  we  have  never  before 
nursed  men  who  suffered  so  much  and  com- 
plained so  little  nor  seen  patients  show  so 
much  unselfishness  towards  each  other  and 
gratitude  to  those  who  are  nursing  them." 

These  nursing  sisters  thus  rendered  noble 
service  and  took  great  risks,  for  it  is  the  way 
of  the  Navy  to  discount  danger  in  the  discharge 
of  duty  and  the  hospital  ships  came  very  close 
to  the  Beaches.  They  were  not  attacked  from 
the  shore,  for  the  Turk  fought  cleanly  ;  but  the 
presence  of  German  submarines  was  an  ever 
present  danger,  the  German  being  a  very 
different  kind  of  opponent  from  the  Turk. 
Moreover  there  was  danger  from  the  ah-.  On 
one  occasion  the  hospital  ship  Soudan,  to  the 
work  of  which  reference  has  already  been 
made,  had  a  most  unpleasant  experience. 
Two  trawlers  were  alongside  taking  away 
minor  cases  when  a  hostile  aeroplane  appeared 
overhead  and  dropped  four  bombs  quite 
near  the  ship  ;  two  of  the  bombs  indeed 
"  straddled  "  her,  throwing  up  fountains 
of  water  on  explosion.     There  were  no  other 


ships  near  at  the  time  and  the  Soudan  was 
lying  outside  the  temporary  boom  well  away 
from  the  transports.  On  another  occasion 
bombs  from  an  aeroplane  fell  near  this  vessel 
and  it  was  considered  advisable  to  have 
two  large  red  canvas  crosses  sewn  on  to  the 
upper  surface  of  the  fore  and  aft  awnings 
in  the  hope  that  they  might  be  seen  and 
respected. 

It  is  impossible  in  this  chapter  to  deal  with 
the  activities  of  the  naval  doctor  in  other 
spheres  than  those  which  have  been  indicated, 
but  mention  must  be  made  in  passing  of  the 
British  Naval  Mission  to  Serbia  and  of  the 
heroic  work  accomplished  during  the  epidemic 
of  typhus  which  raged  in  that  unhappy  country, 
A  very  full  report  on  this  epidemic  was  presented 
by  Temporary  Surgeon  Merewether,  R.N., 
Who  saw  it  for  himself  and  took  part  in  the 
brave  efforts  to  cope  with  it,  thus  incurring  the 
gravest  personal  risk. 

Mention  must  also  be  made,  of  the  work  done 
by  naval  doctors  in  connexion  with  the  Royal 
Naval  Air  Service.  This  work  was  exceedingly 
interesting  because  experience  soon  showed 
that  a  high  measure  of  physical  fitness  was 
essential  to  a  successful  pilot  and  hence  upon 
the  doctor  devolved  the  heavy  responsibility 
of  selecting  or  rejecting  candidates  for  the 
service.  Some  curious  conditions  were  also 
met  with,  not  the  least  of  these  being  "  Aeros- 
thenia,"  to  use  the  word  coined  for  it  by  Staff 
Surgeon  Hardy  Wells.  It  was  found  occa- 
sionally among  aerial  pupils  ;  the  pupil  pilot 
was  not  comfortable  in  his  flying  ;  he  had  not 
got  that  self-confidence  which  was  so  necessary. 
He  was  perhaps  too  keenly  apprehensive  lest 
he  might  make  a  bad  landing  or  might  get  an 
engine  failure  over  bad  landing  ground  and 
smash  the  machine.  He  went  on  flying, 
nevertheless,  hoping  that  he  might  overcome 
this  feeling.  But  he  did  not  overcome  it  ; 
instead  he  slept  badly,  worried,  and  eventually 
got  into  a  really  nervous  state.  It  was  found 
that  there  was  only  one  thing  to  be  done  in 
those  cases.  The  pupil  had  to  give  up  flying  ; 
he  was  not  suited  for  it.  Men  of  proved  courage 
sometimes  suffered  from  this  trouble,  and  the 
conclusion  was  that  "  it  is  not  given  to  every 
man  to  fly ;  and  to  be  left  alone  in  the  wide  air- 
world  with  no  one  to  consult  is  a  strange  feeling." 

Height  effects  were  another  type  of  con- 
dition upon  which  the  naval  air  service  doctor 
had  to  keep  a  watchful  eye.  The  trouble  arose 
usually    through    too    rapid    a    descent   being 


THE    TIMES    HISTORY    OF    THE    WAR. 


AFTER    THE    BATTLE    OF    JUTLAND    BANK. 
Wounded  .  Heroes  in  a  Hospital  Ship. 


made.  In  regard  to  the  question  of  age,  it 
was  found  that  30  was  the  highest  limit  advisable 
in  selecting  pilots.  At  first  23  was  fixed  as  the 
lowest  because  it  was  feared  that  boys  under 
that  age  would  be  reckless  in  their  handling 
of  the  machines,  but  this  rule  was  later  relaxed, 
and  indeed  experience  showed  that  lads  of  18 
and  19  are  most  excellent  material  and  that 
very  few  of  them  were  rejected  subsequently 
owing  to  failure  to  show  aptitude  for  flying. 

These, many  activities  gave  to  the  naval 
medical  service  a  broad  and  catholic  character, 
but  the  actual  work  upon  the  fighting  ships 
remained  the  chief  claim  to  honour.  How 
supremely  heroic  that  work  was  was  not 
revealed  until  the  terrible  day  of  May  31,  1916, 
when  the  Battle  of  Jutland  Bank,  the  greatest 
naval  engagement  in  history,  was  joined. 

It  is  clearly  impossible  to  do  full  justice  to 
the  work  of  the  naval  doctors  in  this  engage- 
ment, but  quite  enough  material  is  available  to 
justify  unstinted  admiration  and  to  evoke 
heartfelt  gratitude  in  every  mind.  In  all  the 
great  traditions  of  the  service  no  nobler  record 
can  be  found  than  the  record  of  the  men  who, 
in  darkness  and  danger,  laboured  without 
thought  of  self  or  safety  for  the  benefit  of 
their  friends  and  the  honour  of  their  uniform. 


Of  all  the  wonderful  deeds  of  that  great  day 
perhaps  those  enacted  upon  the  Warrior 
were  the  most  wonderful.  The  Warrior  be- 
longed to  Sir  Robert  Arbuthnot's  squadron, 
and  at  6.16  in  the  evening  with  the  Defence 
was  observed  passing  down  between  the 
engaged  lines  under  a  very  heavy  fire.  The 
Defence,  flying  Rear-Admiral  Arbuthnot's  flag, 
disappeared  and  the  Warrior  passed  to  the 
rear  disabled.  They  had  only  a  short  time 
before  been  observed  in  action  with  an  enemy 
light  cruiser  which  was  subsequently  seen  to 
sink.  The  ships'  companies  of  both  the  Defence 
and  Black  Prince  were  lost,  but  that  of  the 
Warrior  was  saved  by  the  Engadine. 

On  the  afternoon  of  May  31  the  doctors  of 
the  Warrior  were  in  their  dressing  stations 
making  ready  for  the  grim  work  ahead.  After 
the  first  few  minutes  of  the  action,  however,  a 
terrible  catastrophe  occurred  which  in  an 
instant  cut  down  their  effectives  and  threw 
upon  those  who  survived  a  terrible  new 
burden  of  responsibility.  A  shell  crashed  into 
the  ship  and  destroyed  utterly  the  after  dressing 
station  ;  other  shells  followed,  and  finally  a  fire 
broke  out  resulting  in  many  casualties. 

As  soon  as  possible,  and  while  firing  was  still 
in  progress,  one  of  the  surgeons  went  along  the 


276 


THE    TIMES    HISTORY    OF    THE    WAR. 


277 


upper  deck  and  the  after  part  of  the  ship  and 
rendered  first  aid,  and  in  this  he  was  assisted 
by  the  doctor  in  charge  of  the  wrecked  station, 
who  had  escaped  miraculously.  The  wounded 
were  carried  along  the  decks  from  the  scene  of 
the  disaster  to  the  forward  station,  and  this 
dangerous  work  was  carried  out  in  most  efficient 
and  speedy  fashion. 

Then,  to  add  to  the  terrible  character  of  the 
situation,  the  electric  lights  went  out  and  gas 
and  smoke  began  to  fill  the  mess  decks  and 
especially  the  forward  dressing  station  ;  and 
although  candles  and  an  electric  torch  had  been 
provided  it  was  very  difficult  to  see  owing  to 
the  dense  smoke  and  consequent  irritation  of 
the  eyes. 

These  various  circumstances  rendered  the 
dressing  station  a  kind  of  inferno.  But  courage 
and  devotion  discounted  even  so  great  troubles. 
As  soon  as  the  watertight  doors,  which  shut 
off  one  part  of  the  ship  from  the  other  parts, 
were  opened,  the  doctors  went  forth  again  with 
their  stretcher  parties  to  collect  wounded 
from  the  various  parts  of  the  ship  and  to  carry 
them  to  the  sick  bay  and  forecastle  mess  deck, 
which  were  still  intact.  Mess  tables  were 
rapidly  cleared  away  and  the  wounded  brought 
to  a  place  of  comfort  with  all  speed. 

But  down  in  the  forward  dressing  station  the 
conditions  had  meanwhile  become  so  bad  that 
the  atmosphere  was  dangerous  by  reason  of  the 
gas  and  smoke  in  it.  One  of  the  doctors  was 
actually  "  gassed,"  but  soon  recovered ;  on 
recovery  he  began  his  work  again  without  a 
moment's  delay  or  hesitation,  for  there  was 
much  work  waiting  to  be  accomplished. 

When  the  wounded  were  collected  all  serious 
cases  were  placed  in  beds  on  deck  and  in  cots 
in  the  sick  bay.  Some  of  the  wounded  died 
here,  but  none  from  bleeding,  for  efficient 
dressings  had  been  applied.  About  9.30  the 
'  Senior  Medical  Officer  was  ready  to  begin  his 
operating  work. 

A  bathroom  forward  of  the  sick  bay  was 
selected  as  an  operating  theatre.  As  soon  as 
it  was  ready  the  surgeons  set  to  work,  for 
several  men  required  their  attention  very 
badly.  All  through  the  long  hours  they  toiled, 
knowing  little  or  nothing  of  what  passed  upon 
the  sea  about  them,  of  the  position  of  their  own 
ship,  of  the  chances  of  personal  safety  ;  perhaps 
caring  little  ;  toiling  with  dogged  perseverance 
towards  the  aim  of  bringing  help  and  comfort 
to  their  fellow  sailors. 

The  work  went  on  without  a  break,  and  by 


the  light  of  candles,  till  4  a.m.  of  June  1,  when 
all  the  wounded  had  been  attended  to  and 
made  comfortable.  Indeed,  at  this  time  many 
of  them  were  asleep.  But  the  work  was  as  yet 
only  half  done,  for  just  as  the  surgeons  com- 
pleted their  task  orders  came  to  abandon  the 
ship  ;  the  Warrior,  which  was  then  being  towed 
by  the  Engadine,  was  sinking. 

It  was  well  that  this  order  came  after  a 
measure  of  comfort  had  been  restored,  and 
after  the  patients  had  recovered  from  the 
effects  of  the  anaesthetics  administered  to 
them,  for  there  was  a  heavy  sea  running  and 
the  ship  was  moving  restlessly  as  she  went  to 
her  doom.  Fierce  was  the  ordeal  awaiting  the 
doctors,  who  must  transfer  their  tliirty-one 
patients  in  that  maelstrom. 

Yet  the  task  was  carried  out,  in  spite  of  the 
sea  and  the  rolling  and  plunging  ships.  Life- 
belts were  put  on  the  patients  and  in  cots, 
stretchers,  and  sick-bay  iron  cots  they  were 
moved  from  one  vessel  to  the  other.  All 
watertight  rooms  were  then  rapidly  closed. 
The  Warrior  by  this  time  was  very  low  in  the 
water,  and  might  sink  at  any  moment  ;  numer- 
ous seas  swept  the  upper  deck  as  she  lay 
secured  to  the  Engadine.  It  was  difficult 
work  to  prevent  the  wounded  from  being 
soaked  through.  The  stretchers  and  cots  were 
held  up  by  men,  walking  on  either  side  of  them  ; 
but  the  movements  of  the  ships  rendered  this 
task  exceedingly  dangerous  and  difficult,  and 
unfortunately  one  man  fell  overboard  owing 
to  the  breaking  of  a  stretcher.  He  was, 
however,  rescued  by  an  officer  of  the  Engadine, 
but  subsequently  died.  The  heroic  character 
of  that  rescue  between  the  bumping,  plunging 
ships  may  be  left  to  the  imagination. 

The  injuries  received  by  members  of  the 
Warrior's  crew  were  of  the  most  terrible  kind. 
Several  bodies  were  rent  in  pieces  ;  many 
limbs  were  torn  from  bodies  ;  some  men  were 
stripped  naked.  Among  the  operations  per- 
formed by  the  light  of  the  guttering  candles, 
upon  a  sinking  ship  in  a  gale  of  wind,  were 
amputations,  ligaturing  of  bleeding  vessels,  and 
removal  of  shell  splinters. 

Magnificent  as  was  this  conduct,  it  was 
typical  of  that  prevailing  throughout  the  whole 
fleet  ;  indeed  on  such  a  night  of  heroes  dis- 
crimination between  gallant  deeds  was  almost 
impossible.  Nevertheless  a  few  other  cases 
may  be  mentioned  in  order  to  show  how 
universal  was  the  response  to  duty  by  the 
medical   service.      In   the   Lion,   for  example, 


278 


THE    TIMES    HISTORY    OF    THE    WAR. 


the  trouble  from  gas  fumes  was  experienced  just 
as  it  had  been  on  the  AYarrior.  Respirators 
and  anti-gas  goggles  were  issued  to  each 
turret,  compartment  and  mess  deck  As  a 
result  of  this  precaution  no  case  of  "  gassing  " 
occurred.  Nearly  all  the  casualties  occurred 
within  the  first  half-hour  of  action.  During 
the  first  lull  the  medical  officers  emerged  from 
their  stations  to  make  a  tour  of  inspection. 
The  scenes  that  greeted  them  beggar  descrip- 
tion. Most  of  the  wounded,  however,  had 
already  been  dressed  temporarily.  Tourniquets 
had  been  applied  in  one  or  two  cases,  and 
haemorrhage  thus  arrested.  But  many  of  the 
wounded  were  terribly  mutilated  and  broken. 

Happily  in  this  ship  the  light  did  not  go 
out — though  precaution  against  this  eventu- 
ality had  been  taken — and  so  it  was  possible 
to  get  to  work  in  comparatively  good  conditions. 
As  usual,  morphia  was  administered  at  once, 
and  acted  like  a  charm,  relieving  the  terrible 
sufferings  of  the  stricken  men. 

Thrice  during  the  evening  the  battle  was 
renewed  so  far  as  this  ship  was  concerned,  but 
as  each  lull  came  it  was  found  possible  to 
remove  the  wounded  to  a  place  of  safety  by 
means  of  the  admirable  Neil  Robertson 
stretcher  (devised  in  1910  by  the  late  Fleet 
Surgeon  Neil  Robertson,  R.N.)  which  proved 
so  great  an  addition  to  the  equipment  of  the 
naval  doctor. 

After  the  action  was  over  the  injured  were 
nursed  carefully  throughout  the  night,  and 
were  supplied  with  warm  blankets,  hot-water 
bottles  and  hot  beef-tea  and  medical  comforts. 
Some  of  the  men  were  terribly  burned  and 
others  mutilated,  so  that  all  hope  of  saving  life 
was  vain. 

The  burns,  as  has  already  been  indicated, 
were  of  two  kinds,  both  of  which  were  seen  in 
large  numbers  in  the  Jutland  battle  —burns 
from  exj^loded  gim -charges  and  burns  from 
bursting  shells.  The  former  type  were  oc- 
casioned when  an  enemy  shell  managed  to 
ignite  some  of  our  explosives  in  gun  turrets. 
In  these  cases  the  bodies  of  the  unhappy 
victims  were  often  charred  instantly  so  that  they 
resembled  mummies  ;  it  was  an  instantaneous 
process  of  death,  and  but  rarely  cases  of  this 
kind  concerned  the  surgeon.  The  other  type  of 
burn  was  due  to  a  shell  bursting  near  the  victim, 
and  often  involved  large  areas  of  his  skin.  It  was, 
however,  a  superficial  burn  and  very  amenable 
to  treatment.  Various  forms  of  treatment 
were   employed,   but   probably   that   by   picric 


JM 


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_  _  -  -, 

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<m 


THE    NEIL    ROBERTSON    HAMMOCK    . 
STRETCHER. 

acid  was  the  most  successful.  The  objection  to 
picric  acid,  however,  was  that  it  adhered, 
rendering  dressing  difficult  and  painful.  So  a 
trial  was  given  to  the  method  of  using 
liquid  paraffin,  recommended  by  Dr.  Sandfort, 
Medecin-Major  in  the  French  Army.  The 
preparation  was  used  at  a  high  temperature  ; 
it  solidified  and  formed  a  coating  which  ex- 
cluded the  air,  stopped  pain  in  ten  to  fifteen 
minutes,  and  afforded  painless  redressings. 

Not  until  7. 30  a.m.  on  June  1  was  it  thought 
safe  to  bring  the  Lion's  wounded  up  from 
below.  The  Vice-Admiral's  and  Captain's 
cabins  were  accordingly  cleaned,  dried,  and 
thoroughly  ventilated,  a  process  which  occupied 
a  considerable  time  as  they  were  both  full  of 
water  and  smoke,  and  the  Captain's  bathroom 
was  rigged  up  as  an  operating  theatre.  By  8.45 
a.m.  operations  began,  and  51  cases  were  dealt 
with.  Almost  50  per  cent,  of  these  cases  had 
burns  of  the  face  and  hands  alone,  the  reason 
being  that  the  clothing  completely  protected 
the  rest  of  the  body  against  the  momentary 
flash  of  the  bursting  shells.  The  staff  worked 
<  ontinuously  in  the  operating  theatre  till 
12.15  a.m.  on  June  2 — some  16  hours — when 
all  the  wounded  had  been  attended  to. 

"  The  cheerfulness  and  pluck  of  the  wounded," 
an  observer  stated,  "  were  simply  magnificent. 
Content  to  be  alive,  they  waited  to  be  dressed 
with  a  silent  patience  admired  by  all.  In 
every   case   we   found   that   the   wounds   were 


THE    TIMES    HISTORY    OF    THE    WAR. 


279 


far  more  severe  than  we  had  been  led  to  antici- 
pate by  th3  attitude  of  the  patient." 

This  heroic  attitude  was  commented  upon 
by  all  the  doctors  ;  one  of  them  also  told  how 
on  glancing  over  the  side  of  the  ship  when 
going  into  action  he  saw  a  raft  crowded  with 
'•sailor-men"  from  one  of  the  sunken  vessels. 
As  the  raft  floated  by  the  men  gave  three 
lusty  cheers,  and  then  began  to  sing  "  Keep  the 
Home  Fires  Burning "  until  the  battleship 
was  out  of  earshot. 

These  terrible  series  of  operations,  coming 
upon  the  top  of  the  fierce  strain  of  action,  were 


THE    NEIL   ROBERTSON    STRETCHER   IN 
TOPS. 

the  doctor's  most  severe  test.  On  some  of  the 
light  cruisers  10  and  11  hours  were  spent  by 
the  surgeon  in  disposing  of  the  mass  of  work 
awaiting  him  ;  during  this  period  there  was  no 
pause,  a  new  case  being  hurried  on  to  the 
table  as  soon  as  the  case  just  finished  with  had 
been  removed.  Nor  was  this  a  mere  mechanical 
exercise.  The  doctor  had  to  exercise  judg- 
ment upon  matters  affecting  the  whole  future 
life  of  young  men  in  their  prime.  Upon  the 
answer   to    the    question,    Must   this   limb   be 


amputated  at  once  or  can  it  be  saved  ?  depended 
often  the  issues  of  life  and  death. 

It  is,  indeed,  remarkable  that  these  men 
were  able  to  carry  out  their  work  with  so  great 
success,  and  the  value  of  a  piece  of  advice  given 
to  his  colleagues  by  one  of  the  surgeons  who 
bore  the  brunt  of  the  action  is  obvious  : 

"  It  is  necessary,"  he  declared,  "  that  evpry 
Naval  Medical  Officer  should  keep  himself 
phvsicallv  fit.  as  the  strain  of  a  prolonged  night 
action  is  severe." 

It  was  found  that  hospital  ships  could  hope 
to  play  but  a  small  part  in  a  great  naval  battle, 
for  those  ships  which  had  most  wounded 
aboard  were  necessarily  those  which  had  been 
most  severely  handled.  Those  ships  were 
forced  in  some  cases  to  return  quickly  to  their 
bases  and  there  was  no  time  to  unload  wounded, 
nor,  indeed,  any  necessity  since  they  could  be 
unloaded  in  much  greater  comfort  in  port. 
Nevertheless,  many  incidents  of  the  Jutland 
fight  pointed  to  the  conclusion  that  ' '  rescue 
ships  "  might  fulfil  a  useful  purpose  by  picking 
up  men  out  of  the  water  and  restoring  them. 
In  the  heat  of  action  fighting  vessels  could  not, 
of  course,  undertake  this  work. 

The  true  sphere  of  the  hospital  ship,  as  has 
already  been  indicated,  was  found  to  lie 
between  the  anchorages  of  the  Grand  Fleet 
and  the  home  ports.  Many  ingenious  devices 
were  in  use  for  conveying  the  wounded  from 
the  battleship  to  the  hospital  ship  (several  of 
which  are  illustrated  in  the  present  chapter). 
The  hospital  ships  performed  splendid  service, 
and  to  their  good  equipment  and  excellent 
organization  it  was  due  that  the  horrors  of  the 
great  fight  were  not  prolonged  an  hour  more 
than  was  necessary. 

Of  the  men  themselves,   the   doctors,   little 


THE    NEIL    ROBERTSON    STRETCHER 
STOKEHOLDS. 


IN 


2  HO 


THE    TIMES    HISTORY    OF    THE    WAR. 


requires  to  be  said.  Their  work,  indeed, 
revealed  them  and  was  their  true  mirror.  No 
less  was  it  the  mirror  of  the  staffs  who  co- 
operated with  them,  the  sick  berth  stewards, 
the  cooks,  the  firemen.  Nor  must  the  surgeon 
probationers  be  passed  without  mention. 
Medical  students,  they  showed  again  and  again 
superb  qualities  of  courage  and  endurance  and 
much  more  than  justified  those  who  had  tried 
the  experiment  of  appointing  them.  Finally, 
the  Admiralty  surgeons  and  agents,  civil 
practitioners  appointed  at  most  large  and 
small  ports  round  the  British  Isles,  rendered 
valuable  service,  one  of  them  treating  no  fewer 
than  43  wounded  from  the  Battle  of  Jutland 
Bank.  There  were  some  1,122  medical  officers 
serving  in  the  British  Navy,  including  528 
entered  for  temporary  service  ;  and  in  addi- 
tion there  were  370  surgeon  probationers 
who  held  the  relative  rank  of  Sub -Lieutenant 
R.N.V.R. 

In  the  list  of  naval  honours  appended  to 
Sir  John  Jellicoe's  dispatch  on  the  Battle  of 
Jutland  Bank  the  doctors  were  well  represented. 
Fleet  Surgeon  Alexander  Maclean  was  recom- 
mended for  promotion  because  of  his  gallant 
conduct  when  "  the  medical  staff  was  seriously 
depleted  by  casualties,  and  the  wounded  and 
dying  had  to  be  dressed  under  very  difficult 
conditions  on  the  mess  deck,  which  was  flooded 
with  a  foot  of  water  from  damaged  fire  mains." 
Fleet  Surgeon  Penfold,  though  knocked  down 
by  a  bursting  shell  and  severely  bruised  and 
shaken,    went    on    with    his    work    "  for   forty 


hours  without  rest."  He  also  was  recom- 
mended. Surgeon  Quine,  R.N.V.R.,  received 
mention  because  of  his  "  assiduous  care  of  and 
attention  to  the  wounded,  of  whom  he  was  in 
sole  charge  for  over  forty  hours,"  the  Staff 
Surgeon  having  been  severely  wounded.  Staff 
Surgeon  Bickford  had  actually  to  be  ordered 
to  place  himself  on  the  sick  list,  and  his  superior 
officer  declared  of  him  that  "  though  severely 
wounded  by  a  shell  splinter,  he  persisted  in 
attending  to  the  wounded,  only  yielding  to  a 
direct  order  from  myself."  A  surgeon  pro- 
bationer who  amputated  a  leg  in  the  dark  also 
received  honourable  mention. 

These  cases,  as  will  be  evident  from  what 
has  been  said,  represent  the  hundreds  of  others 
of  which  no  record  has  been  preserved  ;  they 
show  that  from  top  to  botlom  the  Royal  Naval 
Medical  Service,  like  the  Royal  Navy  itself, 
was  sound,  a  splendid  organization  with 
splendid  traditions  of  service,  and  with  a 
sense  of  duty  and  of  honour  which  was  stronger 
than  death.  This  grand  body  of  men  placed 
England  in  its  debt  a  hundred  times  ;  to 
its  Chief,  Sir  Arthur  May,  and  his  staS, 
the  Empire  likewise  owed  her  thanks.  Upon 
these  men  devolved  indeed  a  heavy  re- 
sponsibility. They  were  the  guardians  of 
the  guardians  of  the  Empire  ;  day  and  night 
their  vigil  continued,  for  to  their  hands  had 
been  entrusted  the  health,  the  well-being  and 
the  happiness,  and  so  the  efficiency,  of  the 
Royal  Navy  during  the  years  of  its  supreme 
trial. 


ON    BOARD    A    PATROL    SHIP. 


CHAPTER   CXLV. 

THE   SENUSSI  AND  WESTERN 

EGYPT. 

The  Western  Frontier  of  Egypt  and  the  Senussi  Danger— Tripoli  and  Cyrenaica— British, 
Italian  and  French  Objects— The  Senussi  Sect— Its  Part  in  Recent  Wars— Turco-German 
Conspiracy  Against  Italy— Italian  Operations  1914-15— Turco-German  Plans  for  Senussi 
Invasion  of  Egypt — The  Kaiser  as  "  Protector  of  Islam  " — Beginning  of  the  Campaign- 
General  Maxwell's  Offensive — Analysis  of  the  Operations — The  Action  on  Christmas 
Day,  1915 — General  Peyton's  Operations — Defeat  and  Capture  of  Gaafer  Pasha — 
Armoured  Cars  in  the  Desert — The  Crew  of  the  Tara  and  Their  Release — Occupation  of 
the  Oases — Sir  Archibald  Murray's  Command  in  Egypt — The  Pacification  of  Darfur. 


THE  general  position  of  Egypt  in 
relation  to  the  world  war  and  the 
first  attack,  in  February,  1915,  by 
the  Turks  on  the  Suez  Canal  have 
been  described  in  previous  chapters.  That  the 
Turks  would  endeavour  to  invade  Egypt  from 
Syria  was  clearly  foreseen  from  the  moment 
when,  through  German  influences  and  the 
ambition  of  Enver  Pasha,  the  Ottoman  Empire 
was  drawn  into  the  war  on  the  side  of  the  Central 
Powers.  An  attack  upon  Egypt  from  the  west 
— from  the  direction  of  Tripoli — was  not, 
however,  anticipated.  Therefore  when  in  No- 
vember, 1915,  it  was  announced  that  it  had 
been  necessary  to  withdraw  the  Egyptian 
garrisons  from  the  western  frontier  posts 
stirprise  was  felt  at  this  extension  of  the  theatre 
-of  war.  Shortly  afterwards  a  considerable 
force  of  Arabs,  Turks  and  Berbers,  under  the 
leadership  of  Sidi  Ahmed,  the  head  of  the 
Senussi  fraternity  of  Moslems,  invaded  Western 
Egypt  from  Cyrenaica,  and  were  joined  by 
some  thousands  of  Egyptian  Bedouin.  After  a 
campaign  which  lasted  about  five  months  the 
invaders  were  decisively  beaten,  and  the  danger 
to  Egypt  from  that  quarter,  if  not  wholly 
removed,  was  rendered  nearly  negligible. 

Although  it  was  hardly  realized,  the  danger 
to  Egypt  from  the  Senussi  movement  had  been 
Vol.  IX.— Part  112.  ' 


very  serious — much  more  serious  than  the 
Turkish  attempts  made  from  the  Sinai  Penin- 
sula to  cross  the  Suez  Canal.  General  Sir  John 
Maxwell,  then  commanding  the  forces  in 
Egypt,  put  it  on  record  that  throughout  the 
summer  and  autumn  of  1915  his  principal 
cause  of  anxiety  was  the  possibility  of  trouble 
on  the  Western  Frontier,  for  such  trouble 
"  might  lead  to  serious  religious  and  internal 
disorders."  No  danger  of  that  kind  arose  in 
connexion  with  the  Suez  Canal  operations.  A 
jihid  proclaimed  by  the  Senussi  sheikh  might, 
however,  have  met  with  a  wide  response  in 
Egypt,  for  the  order  of  which  he  was  the  chief 
was  the  most  powerful  Mahomedan  sect  in 
North-East  Africa,  and  the  only  brotherhood 
exercising  sovereign  rights  and  possessing  a  disci- 
plined armed  force  on  a  permanent  war  footing. 
Up  to  1915  the  Senussi  had  maintained  friendly 
relations  with  Egypt,  but  the  position  was 
anomalous,  for  Sidi  Ahmed  had  for  many  years 
fought  hard  to  oppose  the  extension  of  French 
authority  in  the  Central  Sudan,  and  he  was, 
when  the  war  in  Europe  broke  out,  conducting 
a  campaign  against  the  Italians  in  Cyrenaica. 

Tripoli  and  Cyrenaica  (Bengazi)  had,  it  will 
be  remembered,  become  Italian  possessions  as 
the  result  of  Italy's  war  with  Turkey  in  1911-12. 
The  Turks,  however,  had  never  withdrawn  the 


181 


292 


THE    TIMES    HISTORY    OF    THE    WAR. 


whole  of  their  troops  from  Cyrenaica,  and 
these,  aided  by  the  Senussi,  continued  the  con- 
flict with  the  Italians.  At  the  end  of  1914  the 
whole  of  the  interior  of  Cyrenaica  was  held  by 
the  Senussi,  and,  as  the  western  border  of 
Egypt  is  conterminous  with  Cyrenaica,  the 
Senussi  had  every  facility  they  needed  to  cross 
the  frontier,  where,  except  along  the  Mediter- 
ranean and  at  the  oasis  of  Siwa,  there  were  no 
forces  to  oppose  them.  Nevertheless,  but  for 
Turco-German  intrigues  Sidi  Ahmed  would 
not  have  turned  his  troops  against  Egypt. 
The  Turks,  as  has  been  indicated,  had  never 
loyally  attempted  to  carry  out  the  provisions 


BK1GADIER-GENBRAL    H.    T.    LUKIN, 

Commanded  (he  South  African  Troops,  Yeomanry, 

and  Territorial  Infantry  and  Artillery. 


EUiott  S  Fry 

MAJOR-GENERAL    A.    WALLACE, 
Commanded  Western  Frontier  Force.  ' 

of  the  Treaty  of  Lausanne,  which  closed  the 
Tripoli  war,  and  their  endeavours  to  stir  up 
trouble  for  the  Italians  were  greatly  aided  by 
German  agents.  Long  before  Italy  had  entered 
into  the  European  conflict  the  familiar  German 
methods  were  employed  to  undermine  her 
authority  in  North  Africa.  The  efforts  of  the 
Turks  and  Germans  succeeded  in  provoking 
revolts  throughout  Tripoli  of  so  serious  a 
character  that  in  view  of  the  European  situa- 
tion the  Italians  withdrew  their  garrisons  from 
the  whole  of  the  hinterland,  and  in  Cyrenaica 
they  were  unable  to  occupy  that  part  of  the 
coastline  which  adjoined  the  Egyptian  frontier. 
This  was  an  opportunity  of  which  the  Germans 
quickly  took  advantage  when  the  European  War 
began.  Large  quantities  of  ammunition, 
field  and  other  guns,  German  and  Turkish 
officers,  well  supplied  with  treasure,  were 
smuggled  into  Cyrenaica  in  innocent-looking 
neutral  vessels.  The  presence  of  these  officers, 
and  the  arms  and  money  they  brought  with 
them,  strengthened  German  influence  with  the 
Senussi,  and  together  with  the  activity,  later 
on,  of  German  submarines  off  the  Cyrenaican 
coast,  finally  induced  Sidi  Ahmed  to  break  of 
his  friendly  relations  with  Egypt. 

The  invasion  of  Western  Egypt  was  thus  the 
sequel  to  the  campaigns  in  Tripoli  and  Cyrenaica, 
and  was   directly  traceable  to   Turco-German 


THE    TIMES    HISTORY    OF    THE    WAR. 


283 


influence.  Italy's  part  in  the  war  in  Africa 
has  not  hitherto  been  told,  nor  its  relation  to 
the  invasion  of  Western  Egypt  made  clear. 
Neither  has  the  significance  of  the  Senussi 
movement  in  relation  to  the  European.  Powers 
whom  it  has  affected  been  adequately  described. 
In  this  chapter,  therefore,  these  matters  are 
dealt  with  in  sufficient  fullness  to  make  the 
whole  question  intelligible.  It  will  be  seen 
that  in  the  campaign  against  the  Senussi  the 
British,  Italians  and  French  were  not  animated 
by  any  anti-Moslem  feeling  ;  their  objects  were 
purely  political.  The  following  pages  consider 
first  the  position  of  the  Senussi  fraternity  and 
their  first  clash  with  the  European  nations  who 
had  partitioned  Africa  among  themselves,  then 
the  campaign  in  Tripoli  and  Cyrenaica,  and 
finally  the  story  of  the  failure  of  the  invasion 
of  Western  Egypt — a  failure  due  to  the  able 
dispositions  of  General  Sir  John  Maxwell,  to 
the  leadership  of  Major-General  A.  Wallace, 
C.B.,  and  Major-General  W.  E.  Peyton,  C.B., 
and  to  the  gallantry  of  the  force  they  com- 
manded. That  force  was  notable  in  its  com- 
position as  representing  almost  every  part  of 
the  British  Empire.  It  included  battalions 
from  the  British  Army,  Indians,  Australians, 
New  Zealanders,  and  South  Africans,  the  last- 
named  making  their  first  appearance  on  any 
battlefield  outside  the  bounds  of  the  southern 
half  of  the  African  Continent. 


The  Senussi  sect  is  of  modern  origin.  Its 
founder,  Sidi  or  Seyid — i.e..  Lord — Mahommed 
ben  Ali,  was  a  native  of  Algeria,  and  was  called 
es  Senussi,  after  a  famous  saint  whose  marabout 
is  near  Tlemcen.  He  was  recognized  as  belong- 
ing to  the  Ashraf  or  descendants  of  Mahomet, 
and  in  early  life  was  a  student  of  theology  at 
Fez.  Attached  originally  to  the  Khadirite-;,  he 
founded  his  first  monastery  in  Arabia  in  1835. 
His  connexion  with  the  puritan  sect  of  the 
Wahhabis  led  to  his  being  suspect  by  the 
idema  of  Mecca,  and  shortly  afterwards  he 
removed  to  Cyrenaica  (or  Bengazi,  as  it  was 
called  by  its  Turkish  masters),  where  in  the 
hill  country  behind  the  ancient  seaport  of 
Derna  he  built  the  Zawia  Baida,  or  White 
Monastery,  which  for  years  was  his  head- 
quarters. Es  Senussi  speedily  gained  a  large 
following,  notwithstanding  the  alleged  hetero- 
doxy of  his  theology.  He  himself  claimed  to 
belong  to  the  orthodox  Malikite  rite,  and  sought 
to  revive  the  faith  and  usages  of  the  early 
days  of  Islam.  The  distinctive  tenets  of  the 
Senussi  it  is  not  necessary  to  discuss  here  ;  it 
may,  however,  be  mentioned  that  to  the 
Prophet's  prohibition  of  alcohol  was  added  a 
prohibition  of  the  use  of  tobacco.  Religious 
tenets  apart,  the  Senussi  fraternity  differed 
from  other  Moslem  brotherhoods  in  the  exer- 
cise of  a  steady  and  continuous  political 
influence.     Mahommed   es  Senussi  became  the 


BRIGADIER-GENERAL    J.    D.   T.   TYNDALE   BISCOE(x) 
With  members  of  his  staff. 


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284 


THE    TIMES    HISTORY    OF    THE    WAR. 


285 


virtual  ruler  of  Cyrenaica,  so  much  so  that  he 
aroused  the  jealousy  of  the  Turks,  who  re- 
inforced their  garrisons  and  made  efforts  to 
strengthen  their  position.  The  White  Monastery 
was  inconveniently  near  the  coast  and  the 
Turkish  garrison  at  Derna,  and  es  Senussi, 
fearing  a  surprise  raid,  moved  south — in  1855 — 
to  the  edge  of  the  Libyan  Desert.  There  in 
the  oasis  of  Jarabub  (now  the  most  westerly 
point  of  Egyptian  territory)  he  built  another 
monastery,  and  there  he  died,  some  four  or 
five  years  later.  A  splendid  tomb-mosque 
marks  his  last  resting-place.  He  was  succeeded 
by  his  younger  son,  known  as  Senussi  el  Mahdi,' 
who  enjoyed  his  father's  reputation  for  sanctity 
and  greatly  extended  the  political  influence  of 
the  fraternity.  Not  only  were  the  Arabs*  of 
Cyrenaica  ever  ready  to  obey  him,  but  the 
Bedouin  of  Western  Egypt  embraced  the  doc- 
trines of  the  sect,  and  a  Zawia  was  established 
in  the  oasis  of  Siwa — the  oasis  in  which  is  the 
once  famous  oracle  of  Jupiter  Arnmon,  con- 
sulted by  Alexander  the  Great.  West  of  Siwa 
throughout  the  Libyan  Desert  Senussi  el  Mahdi 
was  the  acknowledged  sovereign  of  all  the 
wandering  tribes,  and  from  them  and  from  the 
Arabs  of  Cyrenaica  he  drew  his  standing  army. 
Of  greater  advantage,  however,  to  Senussi  el 
Mahdi's  revenues  and  prestige  than  his  lord- 
ship of  half  a  million  square  miles  of  the 
Eastern  Sahara  and  the  allegiance  of  the 
turbulent  Arabs  of  Cyrenaica  was  the  domi 
nating  influence  he  possessed  over  Wadai, 
Kanem,  and  the  other  States  of  the  Central 
Sudan,  from  Nigeria  in  the  west  to  Darfur  in 
the  east.  The  power  of  the  Senussi  and  his 
reputed-  hostility  to  Christians  led  him  to  be 
regarded  as  a  source  of  danger  to  the  European 
Powers  with  possessions  in  North  and  North 
Central  Africa,  while  Abdul  Hamid,  then  Sultan 
of  Turkey,  discerned  in-  him  a  possible  rival 
for  the  Caliphate.  The  unwelcome  attentions 
of  the  Pasha  of  Bengazi,  who,  on  Abdul  Hamid's 
instructions,  visited  Jarabub,  eventually  led 
Senussi  el  Mahdi  to  retire  into  the  heart  of 
the  Libyan  Desert.  The  new  headquarters 
of  the  fraternity  were  established  at  Jof, 
in    the    Kufra    oases,    as    inaccessible    a    spot 

*  It  is  cmtomary  and  convenient,  though  striclly 
incorrect,  to  speak  of  the  inhabitants  of  Cyrenaica  as 
"Arabs."  There  are  genuine  Arab  tribes  among  them 
but  the  majority  of  the  Cyrenaicans  are  of  Libyan  (Ber- 
ber) stock.  They  are  of  the  same  race  as  the  Tunisians, 
Algerians  and  Moors,  a  distinctly  white  race  which  has 
adopted  Islam  and  the  Arab  language.  In  Cyrenaica 
the  Berbers  are  perhaps  more  Arabized  than  in  the  other 
Barbary  States. 


for  an  invader  to  reach  as  any  that  exists  in 
regions  at  all  traversable.  At  Kufra,  too,  the 
Senussi  sheikh  was  midway  between  Wadai 
and  Cyrenaica  and  was  in  touch  with  the 
Egyptian  Sudan  through  Darfur  and  with 
Egypt  through  Siwa  and  the  string  of  oases 
lying  west  of  the  Nile  from  Aswan  to  Cairo. 
Many  of  the  inhabitants  of  these  oases — Dakhla, 
Baharia,  Farafra  and  Kharga — were  Senussites. 

Senussi  el  Mahdi  refused  to  have  anything 
to  do  with  Mahommed  Ahmed,  the  Dongolese 
boat-builder  who  proclaimed  himself  the  Mahdi 
— i.e,,  "  the  expected  guide  "  of  Islam — and 
wrested  the  whole  of  the  Eastern  Sudan  from 
Egypt.  The  Senussi  shiekh  had  already  estab- 
lished friendly  relations  with  Egypt,  and  his 
cousin  and  agent,  who  lived  at  Alexandria, 
was  a  much-courted  and  wealthy  nobleman, 
lavish  in  his  hospitality  to  Europeans  and 
Egyptians  alike.  Senussi's  disapproval  of  the 
Mahdist  movement  in  the  Eastern  Sudan  won 
for  him  the  esteem  of  Sir  Reginald  Wingate, 
and  until  1915  the  relations  between  the 
Egyptian  and  Sudanese  authorities  and  the 
Senussi  continued  friendly — no  doubt  in  part 
because  the  political  ambitions  of  the  Senussi 
were  not  directed  to  the  Nile  valley.  The 
reconquest  of  the  Eastern  Sudan  by  Anglo- 
Egyptian  forces  under  Lord  Kitchener  in 
1896-98  did  not  affect  adversely  the  relations 
between  the  Senussi  and  Egypt  ;  indeed,  as 
illustrating  the  anti-Mahdist  tendencies  of  the 
Senussi,  it  may  be  noted  that  the  revolt  in 
Darfur  in  1888-89  against  the  Khalifa  had  been 
successful  because  the  tribesmen  used  Senussi's 
name,  though  they  received  no  material  help 
from  him. 

To  the  French  Senussi  el  Mahdi  offered 
bitter  opposition,  but  his  action  proved  that 
he  was  fighting  mainly  as  a  temporal  sovereign 
to  preserve  his  authority  over  the  Central 
Sudan  States.  All  the  merchandise  from  these 
semi-Arabized  negro  sultanates  which  fringe 
the  southern  edge  of  the  desert  passed  north- 
ward through  the  Sahara,  along  caravan  routes 
controlled  by  the  Senussites.  (The  merchandise 
included  valuable  consignments  of  eunuchs  for 
the  harems  of  the  East,  and  slaves  smuggled 
into  Egypt  and  Turkey  as  domestic  servants.) 
The  Central  Sudan  had  come  nominally  within 
tne  French  sphere  of  influence  as  the  result  of 
agreements  concluded  in  1898  and  1899  with 
Great  Britain,  and  in  1901  the  French  began 
to  occupy  the  country.  At  once  they  encoun- 
tered the  opposition  of  the  Senussi,  the  first 

112—2 


28G 


THE    TIMES    HISTORY    OF    THE    WAR. 


THE    WHOLE    AREA    OF    SENUSS1    ACTIVITY. 


campaign  being  for  tlie  possession  of  Kanem, 
a  State  on  the  north  east  shores  of  Lake  Chad. 
It  ended  in  the  defeat  of  the  Senussi  in  January, 
1902,  and  the  loss  of  Kanem  so  greatly  affected 
Sheikh  Senussi  el  Mahdi  that  his  death  in  May 
following  was  attributed  to  grief.  He  was 
succeeded  as  Grand  Sheikh  of  the  order  by  his 
nephew,  who  was  still  head  of  the  fraternity  in 
1915,  Sidi  Ahmed-el-Sherif,  generally  styled  in 
Egypt  Seyid  Ahmed,  or  the  Grand  Senussi. 

Sidi  Ahmed  continued  the  struggle  against 
the  French  until  1913-14.  The  conquest  of 
Wadai,  during  1909-10,  by  the  French  was  a 
great  blow  to  the  power  of  the  Senussi,  and  the 
capture  in  1913  of  Am  Galakka  in  Borku  by 
Col.  Largeau*  wrested  from  the  Senussi  the 
last  stronghold  they  held  in  the  Sudan.  This 
was  followed  by  the  occupation  by  the  French 
in  July,  1914,  of  Barda'i,  the  chief  town  in  the 


*  Col.  Largeau  later  on  organized  the  French  expe- 
dition which  invaded  Cameroon  from  Lake  Chad. 
Keturning  to  France,  he  was  killed  at  Verdun.  (See 
Chap.  CXXXI.) 


Tibesti  Highlands — a  great  mountain  range 
stretching  north  to  the  confines  of  Tripoli. 
Sidi  Ahmed  was  definitely  ejected  from  tho 
French  sphere  ;  into  the  Libyan  Desert  they 
made  no  attempt  to  follow  Mm.  It  would 
have  brought  them  into  the  sphere  reserved 
by  international  agreement  to  Great  Britain. 
Two  facts  are  noteworthy  regarding  the  long 
struggle  between  the  French  and  tho  Senussi — 
first,  that  the  majority  of  the  forces  which 
opposed  the  French  were  not  the  immediate 
followers  of  the  Senussi,  but  the  troops  of  the 
States,  such  as  Wadai,  whose  rulers  were 
virtual  vassals  of  the  Senussi  ;  secondly,  that 
the  struggle  against  the  spiritual  head  of  a 
widely  spread  Moslem  fraternity  did  not  arouse 
any  special  anti -Christian  feeling  among  the 
Moslems  of  North  Africa.  There  was  no  jihid, 
no  holy  war,  partly  because,  perhaps,  the  true 
Arabs  do  not  form  even  a  fourth  of  the  popula- 
tion of  North  Africa,  and  on  the  Berbers — the 
great  mass  of  the  people — Moslem  doctrines  sit 
somewhat  Lightly. 


THE    TIMES    HISTORY    OF    THE    WAR. 


287 


It  will  have  been  noticed  that  the  final  defeat 
of  the  Senussi  in  the  Central  Sudan  occurred 
in  the  middle  of  1914,  just  before  tho  great 
war  in  Europe  broke  out.  During  the  latter 
stages  of  that  conflict  Sidi  Ahmed  had  also 
been  busily  engaged  in  the  north.  As  has  been 
shown,  relations  between  the  Senussi  and  the 
Turks  had  been  far  from  cordial,  but  in  1910 
Sidi  Ahmed  received  at  Kufra  an  embassy 
from  the  Young  Turks,  who  sought  to  enlist 
the  sheikh's  aid  in  the  Pan-Islamic  ambitions 
which  they  took  over  from  Abdul  Hamid. 
There  is  evidence  to  show  that  the  Senussi 
sheikh  did  not  share  those  ambitions.  What- 
ever may  have  been  the  views  of  his  grand- 
father and  uncle,  his  predecessors  in  the 
headship  of  the  Order,  Sidi  Ahmed,  who  was 
well  versed  in  European  politics,  and,  through 
his  many  agents  abroad,  in  close  touch  with 
the  outer  world,  set  at  least  as  much  store  on 
his  position  as  a  temporal  sovereign  as  on 
his  spiritual  lordship.  But  when  in  September, 
1911,  Italy  declared  war  upon  Turkey  and 
invaded  Tripoli  and  Cyrenaica  he  was  moved 
to  action. 

It  is  necessary  to  remember  the  distinction 
between  these  two  provinces,  the  custom  in 
England  to  include  Cyrenaica  in  Tripoli  being 


misleading.  They  formed  separate  govern- 
ments under  the  Turks,  and  remain'  separato 
provinces  under  the  Italians.*  Though  they 
have  many  characteristics  in  common  they  are 
distinct  entities  separated  by  the  Gulf  of 
Sidra.  Tripoli  adjoins  Tunisia  ;  Cyrenaica 
Egypt,  and  had  the  fate  of  Tripoli  alone  been 
in  question  the  Senussi  sheikh  might  have 
remained  indifferent  to  Italian  action.  Tripoli 
not  being  directly  in  the  Senussi  sphere  of 
influence.  In  Cyrenaica  it  was  otherwise. 
Here,  as  has  been  seen,  the  Senussi  were  in 
strength,  and  it  was  through  its  seaports — 
Bengazi,  Derna,  etc. — that,  with  or  without 
the  permission  of  the  Turks,  they  drew  their 
supplies  of  arms  and  munitions  and  passed 
the  merchandise  coming  from  the  Central 
Sudan.  Through  Cyrenaica  also  the  Senussi 
largely  maintained  their  contiu.t  with  Egypt, 
along  the  great  limestone  tableland,  the 
Libyan  Plateau,  which  forms  the  land  bridge 
between  Egypt  and  North  Africa.  Farther 
south  the  arid  expanse  of  the  Libyan  desert 
renders  extremely  difficult  any  communication 
with  Egypt  from  the  west.  Tne  control  of  Cyre- 
naica, itself  mainly  a  sterile  rocky  tableland, 

*  The  common  name  for  Tripoli  and  Cvrenaiea  under 
Italian  rule  i*  Libya. 


A    COUNCIL    OF    WAR    IN    THE    DESERT. 


■26b 


THE    TIMES    HISTOBY    OF    THE    WAB. 


was  therefore  a  vital  point  in  Senussi  policy. 
Turkish  control  of  the  seaports  was  one  thing, 
but  Sidi  Aluued  knew  that  Italian  control  of 
the  coast  would  be  another,  and  for  him  a 
lar  more  disagreeable  thing.  He  had  lost,  or 
was  losing,  the  Central  Sudan  to  the  French  ; 
therefore  it  was  the  more  needful  to  keep  open 
his  road  to  the  sea.  Little  as  he  loved  the 
Ottomans,  in  liis  own  interests  he  instructed 
his  adherents  in  Cyrenaica  to  help  Enver 
Pasha  (then  Enver  Bey),  who  commanded  the 
Turkish  troops  in  Cyrenaica,  and  the  Arabs 
formed  a  valuable  part  of  Enver's  army 

In  October,  1912,  the  threatening  situation 
in  the  Balkans  induced  Turkey  to  choose  the 
lesser  of  two  evils,  and  on  the  18th  of  that 
month  the  Treaty  of  Ouchy  (Lausanne)  was 
signed,  Turkey  renouncing  her  sovereignty  in 
Tripoli  and  Cyrenaica,"'  and  agreeing  to  with- 
draw her  troops.  By  a  clause  which  later  on 
gave  opportunity  for  much  intrigue  on  the 
part  of  the  Turks,  the  Italians,  in  accord  with 
their  wish  to  deal  fairly  with  Moslem  suscepti 
bilities,  agreed  to  recognize  the  religious  autho- 
rity of  the  Sultan  as  Caliph.  When  the  Treaty 
of  Ouchy  was  signed  the  Italians  held  in 
Cyrenaica  only  the  chief  seaports,  Bengazi, 
Derna,  Bombah  and  Tobruk.  Their  authority 
extended  inland  nowhere  more  than  three  or 
four  miles.  The  position  in  Tripoli  was  similar 
and  the  energies  of  the  Italians  were  directed 
first  to  the  pacification  of  that  province,  whose 
inhabitants  showed  less  determined  opposition 
to  the  extension  of  Italian  authority  than  did 


*  By  the  Turks,  as  already  stated,  Cyrenaica  was 
known  as  Bengazi,  after  its  chief  town.  Another 
usual  name  for  the  province  is  P.arca. 


the  Arabs  of  Cyrenaica.  This  task,  the  occupa- 
tion and  pacification  of  the  hinterland  of 
Tripoli,  was  completed  in  August,  1914,  the 
month  in  which  the  Great  War  began.  Besides 
Tripoli  proper  the  Italians  had  occupied 
Chadames  and  Ghat,  as  well  as  the  sub-provinco 
of  Fezzan,  with  its  capital  of  Murzuk.  This 
had  not  been  accomplished  without  consider- 
able fighting,  but  the  opposition  was  less 
serious  than  might  have  been  expected.  By 
the  French  authorities  in  Tunisia  and  Algeria 
the  advent  of  the  Italians  was  officially  and 
cordially  welcomed  as  putting  an  end  to  a  state 
of  anarchy  on  the  frontier  which  had  caused 
unrest  in  the  French  Sahara. 

When  the  pacification  of  Tripoli  was  nearly 
complete  the  Italians  turned  their  attention 
seriously  to  Cyrenaica,  where,  towards  the  end 
of  1313,  the  situation  was  much  the  same  as  it 
had  been  twelve  months  previously — that  is, 
the  Italians  held  only  the  seaports.  General 
Ameglio  was  then  appointed  Governor  of 
Cyrenaica,  and  a  considerable  force  was  placed 
under  his  command  for  the  reduction  of  that 
province.  He  had  made  a  promising  beginning, 
when,  in  view  of  the  situation  in  Europe,  he 
rcceivod  orders  to  suspend  operations.  Italy 
was  still  a  member  of  the  Triple  Alliance,  but 
she  had  doubts  as  to  the  loyalty  of  her  Allies, 
doubts  that  diplomatic  revelations  proved 
to  be  'well  founded.  She  therefore  determined 
not  to  lock  up  large  bodies  of  troops  in  Africa 
when  their  services  might  be  needed  in  a  nearer 
theatre  of  war.  Her  original  rupture  with 
Turkey  had  been  precipitated  by  the  know- 
ledge of  German  designs  to  obtain  a  footing  on 
the  Mediterranean  in  agreement  with  the  Porte, 


INDIAN    TROOPS    IN    THE     DESERT. 


THE     TIMES    HISTOEY    OF    THE    WAR. 


289 


TAKING    CAMELS    TO 

while  her  conduct  of  the  war  of  1911-12  had 
been  hampered  by  objections  raised  by  Austria- 
Hungary  to  action  in  Albania  and  the  /Egean, 
and  she  now  had  to  encounter  covert  intrigues 
directed  to  undermining  her  position  in  her 
newly  acquired  territory. 

Bad  faith  on  the  part  of  the  Turks  Italy  had 
experienced  ever  since  the  signing  of  the 
treaty  which  was  supposed  to  have  ended  the 
war  in  Tripoli.  From  Tripoli  itself  the  Otto- 
man troops  had  been  withdrawn,  but  a  con- 
siderable body  of  Turks  remained  in  Cyrenaica. 
There,  with  the  aid  of  the  Senussi  forces,  they 
carried  on  the  war.  The  Italian  troops  cap 
tured  during  the  year  of  fighting  were  not 
released.  For  several  weeks  after  the  peace 
treaty  was  signed  Enver  Pasha  himself  con- 
tinued to  direct  the  operations  against  the 
Italians ;  on  Ms  return  to  Constantinople, 
Aziz  Bey  took  up  the  command,  and  held  it 
till  the  end  of  June,  1913.  After  the  departure 
of  Aziz  Turkish  officers  continued  to  arrive  in 
Cyrenaica — the  Italian  Government  was  in 
possession  of  the  names  of  over  100  of  these 
gentry — and  arms  and  ammunition  reached 
the  Turco-Arab  force  by  various  means,  chiefly 
through  the  small  ports  between  Tobruk  and 
the  Egyptian  frontier.  That  the  Italian 
Government  acted  wisely  in  ordering  the  sus- 
pension of  operations  was  soon  demonstrated. 
In  September,  1914,  the  Fezzani  broke  out 
in  revolt,  and  the  whole  of  the  hinterland  of 
Tripoli  was  shortly  involved  in  the  movement. 
This  conspiracy  against  Italian  rule  was 
attributed  to  the  intrigues  of  German-inspired 
Turkish  agents,  though  at  the  time  the  Italians 
made  no  charges  in  public  against  either 
Turkey  or  Germany.  The  German  method  of 
stirring  up  discontent  in  the  over -sea  possessions 


RAILHEAD,    DABAA. 

of  States  with  which  she  was  at  peace  had  been 
exposed  in  the  French  Yellow  Book  issued  just 
after  the  war  began.  It  contained  a  secret 
memorandum,  dated  Berlin,  March  19,  1913, 
in  which  the  writer  stated  that  it  was — 

absolutely  necessary  that  we  [Germany]  should  open 
up  relations  by  means  of  well-chosen  organizations  with 
influential  people  in  Egypt,  Tunis,  Algeria  and  Morocco, 
in  order  to  prepare  the  measures  which  would  be  neces- 
sary in  the  case  of  a  European  war.  Of  course,  in  case 
of  war  we  should  openly  recognize  these  secret  allies  ; 
and  on  the  conclusion  of  peace  we  should  secure  to  them 
the  advantages  which  they  had  gained.  The?e  aims  are 
capable  of  realization.  The  first  attempt  which  was 
made  some  years  ago  opened  up  for  us  the  desired  re- 
lations. Unfortunately  these  relations  were  not  suffi- 
ciently consolidated.  Whether  we  like  it  or  not,  it  will 
be  necessary  to  make  preparations  of  this  kind,  in  order 
to  bring  a  campaign  rapidly  to  a  conclusion. 

Tripoli  and  Cyrenaica  were  not  mentioned  in 
this  secret  Memorandum,  but  the  Italians  knew 
that  it  was  idle  to  expect  that  German  agents 
would  refrain  from  practising  in  Libya  the 
methods  adopted  elsewhere  in  North  Africa. 
They  had  had  already  proof  of  the  manner  in 
which  Germany  regarded  her  obligations  to  her 
Ally,  for  in  the  war  of  1911-12  German  naval 
and  military  men  in  the  Turkish  service  had 
been  ordered  to  take  part  in  the  operations 
against  Italy — action  which  contrasted  with 
that  of  Great  Britain,  who  during  the  con- 
tinuance of  the  war  recalled  her  officers  serving 
in  the  Turkish  navy.*  Sincerely  desirous,  if 
it  could  be  done  with  honour,  of  keeping  out 
of  the  great  war  which  was  devastating  Europe, 
the    Italian    Government    ignored    as    far    as 

*  Long  afterwards — on  July  6,  1910 — the  German 
Government  officially  announced  that  "  in  the  case  of 
men  who  by  supreme  orders  took  part  in  the  Italo- 
Turkish  war  of  1911-12,  one  year  of  war  is  calculated  for 
pension  purposes."  The  text  of  the  order  was  repub. 
fished  in  the  Italian  newspaper,  Idea  Nazionah,  in 
September.  1916. 


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290 


THE    TIMES    HISTORY    OF    THE    WAR. 


291 


possible  the  repeated  provocations  from  Turco- 
German  sources  ;  they  even  passed  over  at  the 
time  the  proclamation  of  the  Holy  War  against 
the  Italians.  It  was  not  until  August  20, 
1915,  that  Italy  again  declared  war  on  Turkey. 
Towards  Germany,  for  reasons  not  directly 
connected  with  the  situation  in  Africa,  she 
was  still  more  patient.  At  the  outset  of  the 
war  Germany  had  sought  to  take  advantage 
of  Italy's  position  to  make  Tripoli  the  base  of 
intrigues  with  the  natives  of  Tunisia  and 
Algeria  against  the  French.  The  arrest  and 
deportation  by  the  Italians  of  a  party  of  Arabic  - 
speaking  German  officers  who  reached  Tripoli 
and  were  making  for  the  Tunisian  frontier, 
showed  that  Italy  was  loyal  to  her  inter- 
national obligations.  Thereafter  the  intrigues 
were  directed  into  what  proved  a  more  fruitful 
channel,  the  stirring  up  of  disaffection  in 
Tripoli  and  bringing  pressure  to  bear  on  the 
Senussi  sheikh  to  induce  him  to  abandon  his 
friendly  attitude  towards  Egypt.  In  July,  1915, 
the  Italians,  through  the  seizure  of  documents 
in  the  houses  of  Arab  notables  living  in  Tripoli 
city  and  in  Derna,  became  possessed  of  many 
details  of  the  movement  conducted  by  German- 
inspired  Turkish  agents,  which  had  already 
led  to  the  revolt  in  Fezzan  and  other  parts  of 
the  province  of  Tripoli.  Events  in  Cyrenaica 
developed  somewhat  later  ;  it  is  necessary  to 
deal  first  with  the  rebellion  in  Tripoli. 

In  the  operations  for  the  occupation  of  the 
hinterland  of  Tripoli  the  Italians  employed,  in 
addition  to  troops  from  Italy,  a  considerable 
number  of  men  from  their  Red  Sea  colony  of 
Eritrea,  as  well  as  native — i.e.,  Libyan — 
partisans.  The  Eritrean  troops  are  nearly  all 
Abyssinians — excellent  soldiers  and  Christians. 
Priests  of  the  Abyssinian  Church  accompanied 
them  as  chaplains.  Their  faith  and  race  dis- 
tinguished them  sharply  from  the  Arabs  and 
Berbers,  and  their  loyalty  and  bravery  were 
unquestioned.  It  was  otherwise  with  some  of 
the  tribes  who  had  joined  the  Italian  standard. 
On  March  3,  1914,  Col.' Miani,  with  a  force 
which  was  mainly  composed  of  2,000  Eritreans 
and  1,200  auxiliaries  (Libyans),  occupied 
Murzuk,  the  chief  town  in  Fezzan,  and  a 
column  undor  Col.  Giannini  occupied  Ghat — 
600  miles  from  the  coast — on  August  12 
following.  Thus  every  important  point  in 
the  hinterland  was  in  Italian  occupation,  and 
an  era  of  peace  appeared  to  have  dawned. 
Appearances  were  deceptive    for  towards  the 


end  of  September  the  Fezzani  suddenly 
attacked  small  Italian  garrisons  between 
Murzuk  and  the  coast  and  inflicted  serious 
losses  on  the  Italians.  At  first  the  authorities 
believed  that  they  had  only  to  deal  with  a 
local  affair,  but  the  movement  spread,  and  at 
the  end  of  November  the  Italian  Government 
directed  that  Fezzan  should  be  evacuated. 
The  gallant  Col.  Miani  and  his  troops  fought 
their  way  back  to  the  coast  via  Sokna.  This 
withdrawal  left  the  garrison  of  Ghat  isolated, 
while  that  of  Ghadames  was  also  in  a  perilous 
position.  Both  Ghadames  and  Ghat  are  situated 
in  oases  of  the  Sahara  on  the  caravan  route 
from  Nigeria  to  Tripoli  ;  ancient  towns,  now 
in  decay,  famed  as  entrepots  for  European 
and  Sudanese  merchandise.  The  townsmen 
were  fairly  friendly  to  the  Italians,  but  could 
afford  them  no  protection  against  the  nomads 
of  the  desert.  For  the  troops  to  cut  their  way 
north  to  the  coast  was  impossible,  and  that 
reinforcements  would  reach  them  in  time  was 
most  unlikely.  In  this  extremity  the  French 
Government  came  to  their  aid,  although  not 
yet  allied  to  Italy.  In  Africa,  indeed,  the 
solidarity  of  European  interests  was  recognized 
by  all  the  Powers  except  Germany.  Both  Ghat 
and  Ghadames  are  close  to  the  French  Saharan 
frontier,  and  the  garrison  of  Ghadames  with- 
drew into  the  Tunisian  Sahara,  while  that  of 
Ghat  marched  over  200  miles  across  the 
Algerian  Sahara  to  Fort  Flatters,  where  they 
were  made  welcome.     This  was   in  December, 

1914,  and  the  generous  action,  spontaneously 
taken,  of  the  French  was  deeply  appreciated 
in  Italy. 

The  ramifications  of  the  conspiracy  to  over- 
throw Italian  authority  in  Tripoli  were  not 
then  fully  known,  and  General  Tassoni,  Gover- 
nor of  Tripoli,  organized  expeditions  to  re- 
occupy  both  Ghadames  and  Ghat.  After  some 
fierce  fighting,  Col.  Giannini  again  entered 
Ghat  on  February  18,  1915,  and  shortly  after- 
wards Ghadames  was  re-garrisoned.  The  im- 
provement in  the  situation  was  only  temporary. 
In  April,  in  an  engagement  with  the  rebels  in 
the  Sokna  region,  the  Libyan  auxiliaries  of  the 
Italians  went  over  to  the  enemy  on  the  field 
of  battle,  and  the  Italian  and  Eritrean  troops 
only  saved  themselves  from  complete  disaster 
by  a  very  skilful  retreat.  This  defection  led 
several  tribes  whose  attitude  had  been  doubt- 
ful to  turn  against  the  Italians,  and  in  June, 

1915,  the  Italian  Government  announced  a 
general  temporary  withdrawal  of  all  garrisons 


292 


THE    TIMES    HISTORY    OF    THE    WAR. 


in  the  Tripoli  hinterland.  The  withdrawal  was' 
not  carried  out  without  serious  loss  ;  loss  which 
would  have  been  much  greater  but  for  the 
effective  help  given  by  the  French  in  Southern 
Tunisia.  The  last  place  in  the  interior  to  be 
evacuated  was  Ghadames,  the  garrison  crossing 
tho  Tunisian  frontier  on  July  19.  By  a  decree 
of  July  15,  1915,  General  Ameglio  was  named 
Governor  of  Tripoli,  while  retaining  liis  post  of 
Governor  of  Cyrenaica.  Thus  the  direction  of 
the  affairs  of  both  provinces  was  concentrated 
in  the  hands  of  one  man.  Under  General 
Ameglio  the  coast  district  of  Tripoli  was  per- 
pared  for  defence.  During  the  summer  of 
1915  rebel  forces  approached  within  fifteen 
miles  of  Tripoli  city,  but  the  measures  taken 
by  General  Ameglio  freed  the  region  to  which 
the  Italians  had  withdrawn  from  enemies.  The 
reconquest  of  the  interior  was  a  measure  post- 
poned to  a  more  propitious  season. 

One  object  of  the  Turks  and  Germans  in 
stirring  up  sedition  in  Tripoli  was  to  create 
trouble  for  the  French  in  their  adjoining  pos- 
sessions. In  this  they  failed.  The  state  of 
anarchy  re-created  in  Fezzan  had  some  effect  in 
Southern  Tunisia,  but  the  great  majority  of 
Tunisians  remained  absolutely  loyal  to  the 
French.  In  September  and  October,  1915, 
bands  of  Tripolitans,  led  by  Turkish  officers,  and 
joined  by  Tunisian  rebels,  attacked  some  French 
outposts.     They  were  defeated  by  Lieut. -Col. 


Le  Bceuf  in  three  or  four  stiff  engagements  and 
peace  on  the  Tunisian  border  was  reestablished. 
In  Algeria  and  the  Algerian  Sahara  the  work  of 
German  agents  remained  absolutely  fruitless. 

The  Tripoli  revolt  was,  as  it  were,  supple- 
mental to  the  main  plan  of  the  enemy,  whose 
cliief   energies   in   North  Africa   were   concen- 
trated  on   Cyrenaica,   Egypt   and   the   Anglo  - 
Egyptian     Sudan.     In    the     Sudan    the    con- 
spicuous loyalty  of  the  Morghani,*  tho  principa 
Moslem  fraternity  in  that  region,  counteracted 
the  efforts  of  the  Turks  and  Germans,  and  only 
in  Darfur  was  there  any  anti-British  movement. 
The  Darfur  incident  itself  was  a  sequel  to  the 
Senussi   movement,    and   is   dealt   with   in   its 
proper  sequence.      The  plots   of  the  Neufelds. 
Priifers,   Hatzfelds   and  others   in   Egypt  and 
the   Sudan,    though   backed   by   the   Egyptian 
"Nationalists,"    did   not   have   the   effect   de- 
signed.    In  Cyrenaica  the  Turco-Germans  had 
a   more   promising   field    for   their   enterprise. 
The  Italians  had  been  willing  to  come  to  an 
arrangoment    with    the    Senussi    Sheikh,    and 
though  negotiations  were  not  officially  opened, 
Arab   notables   who   had   thrown   in   their   lot 
with  Italy  were  allowed  .to  visit  Sidi  Ahmed 
with  a  view  to   effecting  an   accommodation. 
No    interference    with    the    Sheikh's    religious 
authority    was    contemplated,    nor    did    Italy 

*  Sayed  Ali,  the  head  of  the  sect,  was  in  January,  191U 
created  K.C.M.G. 


AUSTRALIAN    TROOPS    IN     THE    DESERT. 


THE    TIMES    HISTORY    OF    THE    WAR. 


29£ 


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BEDOUIN    PRISONERS    IN    THE    BRITISH    LINES. 


propose  to  occupy  Kufra  or  other  oases  in  the 
Libyan  Desert — whether  those  places  would  fall 
eventually  within  the  Italian  or  British  sphere 
of  influence  was  still  uncertain — but  an  ackno%v- 
ledgment  of  Italian  sovereignty  was  required. 
The  pourparlers  failed,  for  Sidi  Ahmed  refused, 
as  he  said,  to  accept  the  position  of  "  a  protected 
Bey."  He  was  master  of  the  interior  of 
Cyrenaica,  and  even  had  access  to  the  Mediter- 
ranean at  various  points  west  of  the  Egyptian 
frontier.  While  he  could  not  dislodge  the 
Italians  from  the  ports  they  held,  nor  even 
prevent  them  from  consolidating  their  ground 
between  Bengazi  and  Derna,  he  saw  that  they 
had  withdrawn  from  Fezzan  and  Ghat,  and, 
left  to  himself,  he  would  probably  have  been 
satisfied  with  the  situation  as  it  was.  Details 
of  his  relations  with  the  Turks  in  Cyrenaica 
are  naturally  lacking,  but  his  actions  showed 
that  he  hesitated  long  to  take  their  advice  and 
commit  himself  to  an  attack  on  Egypt.  Had 
the  Allied  Fleets  in  the  Mediterranean  been 
able  to  prevent  any  supp'ies  reaching  the 
Senussi  he  would  in  all  probability  not  have 
broken  his  traditional  good  relations  with 
Egypt.  Even  as  it  was,  throughout  the  latter 
half  of  1914  and  the  opening  months  of  1915, 
notwithstanding  the  pressure  brought  to  bear 
upon  him  by  the  Turco-German  party,  he 
maintained  a  correct  attitude  towards  the 
Egyptian  authorities. 

Signs  that  the  pressure  on  the  Senussi  Sheikh 
to  invade  Egypt  were  beginning  to  take  effect 


were  first  apparent  in  May,  1915.  In  the 
previous  month  Gaafer  Pasha,  "  a  Germanized 
Turk  of  considerable  ability,"  to  quote  General 
Maxwell's  description  of  him,  had  arrived  in 
Cyrenaica  with  a  large  supply  of  arms  and 
ammunition.  He  joined  Nuri  Bey,  a  half- 
brother  of  Enver  Pasha,  who  was  the  leader  of 
the  Turkish  party  in  Cyrenaica.  That  Turkey 
and  Italy  were  still  at  peace  with  one  another 
did  not  in  the  least  affect  the  action  of  Nuri  or 
Gaafer.  At  what  spot  Gaafer  landed  or  for 
how  long  Nuri  Bey  had  been  in  Cyrenaica  does 
not  appear  ;  a  number  of  Turks  and  Germans 
gained  access  to  the  country  by  passing  them- 
selves off  as  Tunisians;  Egyptians  or  Moors. 
But  not  all  those  who  tried  to  smuggle  them- 
selves in  succeeded.  In  June,  1915,  the  French 
Ministry  of  Marine  notified  the  capture  in  the 
Eastern  Mediterranean  of  a  sailing  boat  flying 
the  Greek  flag,  provided  with  false  papers  and 
carrying  a  party  of  Turks,  whose  luggage 
consisted  of  valuable  presents  for  the  Senussi 
Sheikh.  Other  boats  were  also  captured,  but 
it  was  not  until  the  beginning  of  1916  that  the 
Cyrenaican  coast  was  so  well  patrolled  by  Allied 
warships  that  Nuri  Bey  and  Sidi  Ahmed  were 
entirely  cut  off  from  over-sea  supplies.  Among 
those  who  reached  Cyrenaica  before  the  arrival 
of  Gaafer  Pasha  was  a  senator  of  the  Turkish 
Parliament  with  special  knowledge  of  the 
Senussi  organization.  He  came,  accompanied 
by  Turkish  military  officers,  and  visited  the 
Sheikh,  then  encamped  near  the  Egyptian 
frontier,  using  all  his  eloquence  to  induce  Sidi 

112—3 


294 


THE     TIMES    HISTORY    OF    THE    WAR. 


Alimed  to  break  with  Egypt  and  proclaim  a 
jihad.  At  that  time  Sidi  Ahmed,  who  was  to 
some  extent  dependent  for  his  commissariat 
upon  supplies  imported  through  Solium,  was  in 
correspondence  with  Lieutenant-Colonel  Snow, 
the  British  officer  then  commanding  on  the 
Western  Frontier  of  Egypt,  and  it  was  chiefly 
owing  to  Colonel  Snow's  tactful  handling  of  a 
very  delicate  situation  that  a  rupture  with  the 
Senussi  was  so  long  deferred.  The  Senussi 
Sheikh  represented  to  Colonel  Snow  that  he  held 
his  Turkish  visitors  as  prisoners,  and  he  sent  to 
Cairo  as  his  special  envoy  a  leading  member  of 
the  fraternity,  Sidi  Mahommed  el  Idris,  who, 
on  his  part,  endeavoured  to  maintain  peace 
between  his  people  and  Egypt.  The  aim  of  Sidi 
Idris  appears  to  have  been  to  get  a  recogni- 
tion of  Senussi  autonomy,  a  matter  which, 
however,  could  only  be  settled  by  agreement 
between  Italy  and  Great  Britain.  It  may  be 
added  here  that,  when  affa.irs  had  reached  a 
critical  stage,  Sidi  Idris  was  sent  by  the  British 
to  Cyrenaica  ' '  to  arrange  negotiations  whereby 
the  Senussi  should  get  rid  of  his  Turkish 
advisers  in  return  for  a  sum  of  money."  (Sir  J. 
Maxwell's  despatch  of  March  16,  1916.)  This 
plan  had  obvious  merits  and  had  it  been  tried 
at  an  earlier  stage  it  might  have  succeeded. 
But  it  was  adopted  too  late,  for  the  Senussi 
coffers  were  already  filled  largely  with  German 
gold.  Heedless  of  his  international  engage- 
ments, and  of  the  fact  that  his  country  was 
still  at  peace  with  Italy,  the  Kaiser  himself  did 


not  disdain   to  make  a  direct   appeal   to   Sidi 

Ahmed.     In  one  of  the  boats  captured  while 

endeavouring  to  carry  gifts  to  the  Senussi  was 

found     an     embossed     casket    containing    the 

following  letter  in  Arabic,  written  by  William  II. 

in  his  favourite  role  of  the  protector  of  Islam  : — 

Praises  to  the  most  High  God.  Emperor  William, 
son  of  Charlemagne,  Allah's  Envoy,  Islam's  Protector, 
to  the  illustrious  Chief  of  Senussi.  We  pray  God  to 
lead  our  armies  to  victory.  Our  will  is  that  thy  valorous 
warriors  shall  expel  infidels  from  territory  that  belongs 
to  true  believers  and  their  commander.  To  this  end  we 
send  thee  arms,  money,  and  tried  chiefs.  Our  common 
enemies,  whom  Allah  annihilate  to  the  last  man,  shall 
fly  before  thee.     So  be  it. — William. 

This  was  not  the  only  appeal  of  the  kind  made 

to  the  Senussi  Sheikh.     Among  the  documents 

found  in   January,   1916,  by  the   Allies  in  the 

archives  of  the  enemy  consulates  at  Salonika 

were    1,500  copies   of  a  long  proclamation  in 

Arabic  addressed  to  the  "  Chiefs  of  the  Senussis." 

This  proclamation,  urging  Moslems,  on  religious 

grounds,     to    wage    war     on     Christians,     was 

discovered  in  the  consulate  of  Austria,  whose 

sovereign     bears     the     title     of     Catholic     and 

Apostolic  Majesty.     The  special  correspondent 

of  The  Times  at  Salonika  who  sent  extracts  from 

this  document  said  that  it  was  not  signed,  but 

its  pseudo-oriental  wording  clearly  betrayed  its 

Germanic  authorship.     The  following  are  some 

passages  from  this  precious  document  : — 

In  the  Name  of  Allah  the  Compassionate  and 

Merciful  ! 

Chiefs  of  the  Senussis  ! 

You  have  seen  that  in  consequence  of  the  oppression 

ceaselessly    inflicted    on    your    Musulman    brethren    by 


BEDOUINS    CAPTURED    DURING    THE    FIGHTING. 


THE    TIMES    HISTORY    OF    THE    WAR. 


295 


CONVEYING    WOUNDED    ON    CAMEL    BACK. 


their  enemies,  France,  England,  Italy  and  Russia,  that 
the  Musulmans,  who  once  enjoyed  freedom,  have  been 
reduced  to  slavery  and  humiliation.  These  tyrannical 
nations  have  no  other  aim  but  to  blot  out  the  light  of 
Islam  throughout  the  world. 

Of  all  the  instruments  Allah  has  chosen  for  the  pro- 
tection of  our  religion  the  surest  is  the  German  nation, 
with  its  sympathy  for  Musulmans.  These  our  allies 
have  placed  the  precious  help  of  their  policy  at  our  ser- 
vice. They  have  begun  to  help  us  in  every  way  in  their 
power  to  emancipate  ourselves  from  the  afflictions  which 
our  oppressors  deal  out  to  us. 

In  these  circumstances  we  have  realized  the  imperious 
necessity  of  proclaiming  a  Holy  War  throughout  Africa, 
th9  north  of  which  continent  has  been  corrupted  by  the 
dissolute  morals:  ntroduced  by  France,  England  and 
Italy,  and  dishonoured  by  the  contempt  in  which 
Musulmans  are  held  by  those  Powers. 

In  all  that  region  the  most  powerful  ruler  and  the  one 
possessing  most  authority  in  the  Musulman  world  is  His 
Excellency  The  Imaum,  the  Illustrious  Exemplar,  the 
Champion  of  Islam  in  the  cause  of  Allah,  who  is  our 
Lord  and  Master,  Seyyid  es  Senussi,  the  Sure  Guide  of 
All  Elect. 

This  leader  is  bred  in  the  truth  of  the  Koranic  Law, 
and  his  soul,  shining  with  its  pure  effulgence,  has  under- 
taken the  task  of  purifying  all  corrupt  souls  and  directing 
them  in  the  path  of  life  revealed  by  the  Holy  Book  given 
to  all  Musulmans. 

Your  glorious  renown,  Your  grand  designs  and  incom- 
parable bravery,  Oh,  Chiefs  of  the  Senussis,  are  known 
throughout  the  world.  All  the  Musulmans  of  the  earth 
count  on  your  bravery  and  noble  conduct  in  proclaiming 
and  waging  a  Holy  War  by  which  the  bright  rays  of 
Islam  will  once  more  shine  on  African  soil,  and  the 
Musulmans  of  North  Africa  recover  the  rights  of  which 
they  have  been  bereft  by  tyrannical  nations. 

Appeals  to  him  as  a  leader  of  Islam  had  less 
effect  upon  the  Senussi  Sheikh  than  the 
demonstration  that  Germany  and  Turkey  could 
r.fford  him  material  aid.  A  factor  that  helped 
in  his  decision  to  invade  Egypt  was  the  appear  ■ 
ance  of   German   submarines  off  the  coast   of 


Cyrenaica  in  the  late  summer  of  1915,  and  the 
success  which  attended  their  operations.  It 
was  some  four  months  after  the  arrival  of 
Gaafer  Pasha  in  Cyrenaica  that  the  first  un- 
toward- incident  of  importance  between  the 
Senussites  and  the  British  occurred.  On 
August  16,  1915,  two  British  submarines  were 
sheltering  from  the  weather  under  a  headland 
of  the  coast  of  Cyrenaica  when  they  were 
treacherously  fired  upon  by  Arabs  under  the 
leadership  of  a  white  (?  German)  officer, 
casualties  being  suffered  on  either  side.  "  The 
incident,"  wrote  Sir  John  Maxwell,  "  was, 
however,  closed  by  the  acceptance  of  the 
Senussi's  profound  apologies,  and  of  his 
assurances  that  the  act  had  been  committed 
in  ignorance  that  the  submarines  were  British  " 
— the  Sheikh  may  have  assumed  that  the 
submarines  were  Italian.  Nothing  noteworthy 
occurred  for  the  next  few  weeks,  but  in  Novem- 
ber events  happened  which  placed  beyond  doubt 
the  hostile  intentions  of  the  Senussi  towards 
Egypt.  The  sequence  of  events  in  that  month 
showed,  too,  close  cooperation  between  the 
acton  of  German  subma  ines  and  the  Tur:o- 
Senussi  forces. 

On  November  5  H.M.  auxiliary  cruiser  Tara 
was  torpedoed  off  Solium  by  the  IT  35  ;  on  the 
6th  enemy  submarines  shelled  the  Egyptian  post 
at  Solium,  and  two  coastguard  cruisers  then 
stationed  in  its  harbour.  One  of  them  the 
Abbas,  was  sunk  at  her  moorings,  the  other,  the 
Nur  el  Bahr,  being  badly  damaged.     The  next 


i  y 


^'JQ 


THE    TIMES    HISTORY    OF    THE    WAR. 


297 


day,  November  7,  the  British  horse  transport 
Moorina  was  also  sunk  off  the  Cyrenaican 
coast  ;  on  the  15th  the  camp  at  Solium  was 
sniped  ;  on  the  17th  the  Zawia  (monastery)  at 
Barrani — 50  miles  within  the  Egyptian  frontier 
— was  occupied  by  some  300  Senussi  regulars  ; 
on  the  18th  the  coastguard  barracks  at  Barrani 
were  attacked  ;  on  the  20th  another  coastguard 
station  was  also  attacked. 

The  long  threatened  campaign  had  begun. 
There  is  no  need  to  suppose  that  Germany  and 
Turkey,  the  Powers  which  had  dragged  the 
Senussi  into  the  adventure,  expected  from  it 
any  great  military  success.  They  hoped,  how- 
ever, to  create  such  unrest  and  disaffection 
throughout  Egypt  that  British  action  in  the 
Near  East  would  be  much  hampered.  The 
Senussites  believed  that  even  if  they  could  not 
hold,  they  would  be  able  to  raid,  the  rich  lands 
of  the  Nile  Delta. 

The  strength  of  the  force  at  the  disposal  of 
the  enemy  is  conjectural  ;  it  was  not,  however, 
less  than  30,000.  It  consisted  of  a  nucleus  of 
Turkish  troops,  with  Turkish,  German  and  Arab 
officers,  the  Muhafizia  or  Senussi  regulars  (a 
well  disciplined  uniformed  body  some  5,000 
strong)  and  a  varying  number  of  irregulars, 
every  adult  male  in  Cyrenaica  being  accustomed 
to  arms.  The  troops  were  supplied  with 
machine  guns,  pom-poms  and  a  number  of 
field  pieces.  There  was  ample  camel  transport, 
and  a  considerable  number  of  the  Senussites 
were  well  mounted.  The  particular  in  which 
they  were  most  lacking  appears  to  have  been 
food.  Certainly  some  of  the  Senussi  camps 
were  very  badly  off  for  provisions.  The 
conduct  of  the  operations  against  Egypt  was 
entrusted  to  Gaafer  Pasha  (who  was  destined 
to  become  a  prisoner  of  the  British).  Sidi 
Ahmed  and  Nuri  Bey  were  also  usually  with 
the  main  body  of  their  troops.  Whatever  the 
strength  of  the  combined  Turco-Senussi  army, 
a  proportion  of  it  had  to  guard  the  rear,  that  is 
to  watch  the  Italian  garrisons  at  Bengazi, 
Derna  and  Tobruk,  while  another  part  was 
detached  to  seize  Siwa  and  other  oases  west  of 
the  Nile. 

British  troops,  the  1/lst  North  Midland 
Mounted  Brigade,  with  the  Berks  Battery, 
R.H.A.,  were  sent  to  garrison  the  Fayum,  and 
cavalry  of  the  Egyptian  Army  with  a  Bikaner 
Camel  Corps  detachment  occupied  the  Wadi 
Natrun.  These  were  the  two  oases  nearest  the 
Nile.     Other  measures,  such  as  placing  a  garri- 


son at  Damanhur,  between  Cairo  and  Alex- 
andria, were  taken  to  ensure  the  tranquillity  of 
the  Delta  region  west  of  the  Nile.  As  to  the 
Bedouin  of  the  Libyan  Plateau,  mostly  mem- 
bers of  the  Walid  Ali  tribe,  all  within  the 
sphere  of  Sidi  Ahmed"s  operations,  which  rapidly 
extended  over  200  miles  of  Egyptian  territory, 
joined  his  standard.  Thus  in  numbers  his  force 
was  more  than  doubled,  though  its  miUtary 
value  was  not  greatly  increased.  But  should 
the  Senussites  have  gained  any  striking 
advantage  hostile  outbreaks  in  Egypt  itself, 
where  agitation  was  rife,  would  have  been  very 
probable.  Even  in  Alexandria  the  Senussi 
had  many  adherents,  and  his  prestige  was 
increased  by  the  measures  which  Gen. 
Maxwell  now  ordered,  the  withdrawal  of  the 
Egyptian  garrisons  from  Solium,  Sidi  el  Bar- 
rini,  and  other  outposts.  Siwa  also  fell  to  the 
Senussi  as  well  as  el  Gara  (Qara)  and  Moghara, 
oases,  at  the  foot  of  the  southern  escarpment  of 
the  Libyan  Plateau,  on  the  way  to  Cairo  by 
the  Wadi  Natrun.  The  more  southern  oases, 
Baharia,  Farafra,  etc.,  were  for  the  time 
unoccupied  either  by  enemy  or  British  troops. 
They  too  led  to  the  Nile,  but  the  main  advance 
of  the  enemy  was  necessarily  along  the  plateau 
which  separates  the  Libyan  Desert  from  the  sea. 
This  plateau,  known  as  the  Libyan  Desert 
Plateau,  rises  abruptly  above  the  Mediter- 
ranean. Its  level  varies  from  300  to  600  feet, 
it  is  composed  of  limestone,  and  large  areas 
of  the  surface  are  bare  rock,  golden  coloured. 
Other  areas  are  covered  with  a  thin  layer  of 
soil  and  in  depressions  and  dry  river  beds  camel 
thorn  and  coarse  grass  are  found.  Numerous 
isolated  hills  rise  above  the  tableland.  The  sea- 
ward face  of  the  plateau  is  almost  everywhere 
precipitous.  The  country  receives  a  fairly 
heavy  winter  rainfall,  but  it  has  no  streams 
and  is  therefore  only  traversable  along  routes 
where  water  can  be  found  in  wells  or  springs. 
From  time  immemorial  the  main  road  across 
this  desolate  land  has  kept  close  to  the  Mediter- 
ranean, and  the  only  considerable  centres  of 
population  are  found  along  the  coast.  The 
chief  town  is  Mersa  Matruh,  about  200  miles 
west  of  Alexandria,  and  150  east  of  Solium. 
As  its  name  (mersa=harbour)  implies,  it  is  a 
port,*  and  around  it  is  a  fairly  large  cultivated 
area,  barley  of  excellent  quality  being  raised. 
At  Matruh  itself  there  is  a  European  popula- 
tion, mainly  Greek  and  Italian,  of  about  200. 

*It  replaces  theParatonium  of  Ptolemaic  and  Roman 
times. 


2JS 


THE    TIMES    HISTORY    OF    THE    WAR. 


Within  12  hours'  journey  by  water  from  Alex- 
andria, Matruh  was  chosen  as  the  British 
base,  and  to  it  the  advanced  garrisons  at  Barrini 
and  Solium  were  withdrawn — not  without  the 
defection  of  12  native  officers,  two  cadets  and 
120  other  ranks  to  the  Senussi.  These  all 
belonged  to  the  Egyptian  Coastguard  Camel 
Corps,  and  their  desertion  was  significant  of 
what  might  happen  on  a  larger  scale  if  circum- 
stances favoured  the  enemy.  While  the  sea 
route  to  Matruh  was  the  chief  means  of  trans- 
port, a  secondary  means  of  communication  was 
afforded  by  the  railway  which  runs  west  from 
Alexandria.  This  line,  when  hostilities  began, 
had  reached  Dabaa,  85  miles  short  of  Matruh. 
Thence  by  Matruh  as  far  as  Solium  a  motor 
service  was  ordinarily  maintained.* 

Starting  from  Bir  Warr  and  Msead,  camps 
some  .v hat  west  of  Solium,  the  enemy  rapidly 
overran  the  country  as  far  east  as  Dabaa, 
but  the  prompt  measures  taken  by  Gen. 
Maxwell  prevented  any  danger  of  Matruh  and 
Dabaa  being  captured  Gen.  Maxwell  wisely 
decided  that  the  best  way  to  deal  with  the 
situation  was  by  a  vigorous  offensive.      In  view 


*  Both  railway  and  road  were  built  by  the  ex-Khedive 
Abbas  Hilmi  Pasha,  the  railway  being  generally  known 
as  the  Maru.it  line,  while  the  road  is  called  the  Khedivia! 
Motor  Road.  A  road,  however,  was  in  existence  and 
in  constant  use  in  Roman  times  between  Alexandria 
and  Matruh,  and  along  it  are  many  broken  wells  and 
cisterns  dating  from  the  first  to  the  fourth  centuries. 


of  the  danger  of  a  rising  in  Egypt,  should  the 

enemy  approach  the  Nile,  it  was  imperative  to 

keep  the  sphere  of  hostilities  as  far  as  possible 

west   of   the   Delta.     This   meant   as   bold   an 

offensive   as   was   consistent   with   not   running 

the  risk  of  a  serious  reverse.     For  all  that  the 

force    immediately    available    for    service    was 

neither    large    nor    homogeneous.     Orders    for 

the    formation    of    a   Western   Frontier  Force, 

consisting  of  a  Composite  Mounted  Brigade  and 

a  Composite  Infantry  Brigade,  were  issued  on 

November   20,   Major-Gen.    A.    Wallace,   C.B., 

being  given  the  command. 

This  force,  the  best  available  in  Egypt  at  the  moment, 
was  by  no  means  well  adapted  to  the  task  which  lay  be- 
fore it.  Regiments  and  staffs  had  been  somewhat  hastily 
collected,  and  were  not  well  known  to  one  another. 
The  Composite  Yeomanry  Brigade,  to  give  an  instance, 
contained  men  from  20  or  more  different  regiments. 
.  .  .  The  composition  [of  the  force]  was  constantly 
changing,  and  it  was  not  until  the  middle  of  February 
that  the  condition  of  the  Western  Frontier  Force  could 
be  considered  really  satisfactory.  (Sir  J.  Maxwell's 
Dispatch,  March  1,  1916.) 

It  is  interesting  to  set  forth  the  original 
composition  of  this  force  and  to  note  how  it  was 
gradually  changed  till  it  came  to  represent 
practically  every  part  of  the  Empire  except 
Canada.  On  December  7,  when  Gen.  Wallace 
took  up  his  headquarters  at  Matruh,  the 
Mounted  Brigade,  which  was  under  Brigadier- 
Gen.  Tyndale  Biscoe,  was  made  up  of  : 

Three  Composite  Yeomaniy  Regiments  (from  details 
2nd  Mounted  Division). 


A    STEAM    PUMP    IN    THE    DESERT. 


THE    TIMES    HISTORY    OF    THE    WAR. 


299 


WATERING    HORSES    AT    A    DESERT    WELL. 


One    Composite    Regiment    Australian    Light    Horse 
from  details  Australian  L.H.  Brigades). 
Notts  Battery  R.H.A.  (  I'.F. )  and  Ammunition  Column. 

Part  of  this  Brigade  (five  squadrons)  was. at 

Dabaa  ;  the  rest  at  Matruh.  Brigadier-Gen.  Lord 

Lucan  commanded  the  Infantry  Brigade,  which 

was  made  up  as  follows  :  — 

l/6th  Batt.  Royal  Scots  (T.F.). 
2/7th  Batt.  Middlesex  Regt.  (T.F.). 
2/8th  Batt.  Middlesex  Regt.  (T.F.). 
15th  Sikhs. 

There  was  also  a  squadron  of  the  Royal 
Flying  Corps.  The  Divisional  Train  was 
supplied  by  the  1st  Australian  Division  and,  no 
Royal  Engineers  being  available,  Gen.  Wallace 
was  given  a  detachment  of  the  Egyptian  Army 
Military  Works  Department.  Besides  this 
newly  raised  force,  Gen.  Wallace  also  had  the 
normal  garrison  of  the  Western  Frontier.  This 
consisted  of  a  small  British  force  and  detach- 
ments from  the  Egyptian  Army.  There  were, 
in  addition,  a  squadron  of  the  Royal  Naval 
Armoured  Car  Division,  which  had  been  rushed 
up  at  the  first  sign  of  serious  trouble  and 
stationed  along  the  Alexandria-Dabaa  railway  ; 
the  2nd  Batt.  New  Zealand  Rifle  Brigade.* 
150  men  of  the  Bikanir  Camel  Corps  (with  an 
Egyptian  Army  machine-gun  section)  ;  and  one 
armoured  train, manned  by  the  l/10th  Gurkha 
Rifles,  with  two  12J-pounders  of  the  Egyptian 

*  A  few  weeks  later  the  161st  Brigade  (54th  Division) 
relieved  the  New  Zealanders  on  the  lines  of  communica- 
tion. 


Army  Artillery.  Thus  Gen.  Wallace  began  his 
campaign  with  "  a  scratch  lot  "  of  Yeomanry, 
Territorials,  Australians,  New  Zealanders, 
Indians  and  Egyptians.  No  "  scratch  lot  "  of 
men  rendered  better  service  than  did  the 
original  units  of  Gen.  Wallace's  command. 
Only  the  three  Territorial  regiments  and  the 
Notts  Battery  R.H.A. ,  however,  saw  the  cam- 
paign through  from  start  to  finish.  The 
commander,  it  will  be  realized,  had  many  dif- 
ficulties to  meet  heyond  those  caused  by  the 
enemy.  One  of  the  most  serious  of  these 
difficulties  remains  to  be  mentioned — the  lack 
of  sufficient  and  suitable  transport  made  it 
necessary  for  Gen.  Wallace  to  withdraw  his 
troops  to  Matruh  after  every  engagement. 

The  first  encounter  with  the  enemy  occurred 
on  December  1 1 ,  and  on  that  day  and  on  the 
13th  there  were  sharp  fights  west  and  south  of 
Matruh,  the  Senussi  holding  in  considerable 
strength  the  Wadi  Senaab,  which  runs  south 
from  the  coast.  Owing  to  the  "  bad  going  "  the 
infantry  employed  (the  Sikhs)  could  take  no 
part  in  the  fight  on  December  1 1 ,  but  the 
Yeomanry,  aided  by  a  squadron  of  the  Aus- 
tralian Light  Horse  and  the  armoured  cars, 
cleared  the  Wadi  Senaab,  the  enemy  losing 
over  100  in  killed  and  wounded.    The  British* 


*  Here  as  elsewhere  in  this  chapter  the  term  "  British 
casualties"  is  used  to  include  all  ranks  under  British 
command — whether  Dominion  or  Indian  or  the  British 
Army  proper. 


300 


THE    TIMES    HISTORY    OF    THE    WAR. 


THE    FORT 

Occupied  by  the  Force  under  Maj 

casualties  were  32.  Lieut. -Col.  Snow,  who, 
until  the  formation  of  Gen.  Wallace's  force 
had  been  in  command  on  the  Western  Frontier, 
was  killed  by  an  Arab  whom  he  was  endeavour- 
ing to  persuade  to  surrender.  He  had  been  25 
years  in  the  Egyptian  Coastguard  Service  and 
was  intimately  acquainted  with  the  country  and 
its  inhabitants,  and  his  death  was  a  severe  loss 
to  the  force.    The  column  camped  on  the  field 


AT    SOLLUM. 
or-General  Peyton,   March  14,  1916. 

on  the  Uth,  and  on  the  12th  rounded  up  some 
prisoners.  On  the  13th,  reinforced  by  the 
Royal  Scots,  the  column  started,  at  8  a.m.,  to 
engage  the  enemy  at  a  spot  1 3  miles  distant ; 
but,  on  crossing  a  wadi  (the  Wadi  Shaifa)  they 
were  themselves  attacked  with  considerable 
vigour  by  a  force  estimated  at  about  1,200, 
with  two  guns  and  machine-guns.  Only  the 
opportune     arrival     of     reinforcements     from 


THE    TIMES    HISTORY    OF    THE    WAR. 


301 


BRITISH    CAVALRY    IN    WESTERN    EGYPT. 
Searching  a  Senussi  encampment  outside  Solium. 


Matruh  turned  the  day  against  the  Senussites, 
who  lost  180  in  killed  alone.  The  British 
casualties  were  nine  killed  and  56  wounded. 
The  column  pursued  the  enemy  till  dark  and 
the  next  day  returned  to  Matruh.  The  chief 
result  of  these  actions  on  December  11  and  13 
was  to  show  Gen.  Wallace  that  he  was  not 
strong  enough  to  risk  a  decisive  engagement. 
He  asked  for  reinforcements  and,  in  the  third 


week  of  December,  was  given  the  1st  Batt. 
New  Zealand  R.B.,  two  naval  4'1  in.  guns, 
and  "  A  "  Battery  Hon.  Artillery  Co. 

Thus  strengthened,  Gen.  Wallace  again 
engaged  the  enemy,  the  action  being  fought 
on  Christmas  Day,  1915.  The  main  Senussi 
force  was  then  near  Gebel  Medwa,  a  hill  some 
eight  miles  south-west  of  Matruh.  Gaafer 
Pasha  was  in  command,  and  from  air  recon- 


302 


THE    TIMES    HISTORY    OF    THE    WAR.. 


MAP    TO    ILLUSTRATE    THE    BRITISH    OPERATIONS. 


naissance  and  other  sources  the  British  esti- 
mated his  strength  in  infantry,  cavalry,  and 
artillery,  to  be  about  5,000,  of  whom  more 
than  half  were  Mahafizia  (regulars).  Gebel 
Medwa  was  within  a  few  miles  of  the  sea,  and 
on  the  25th  Gen.  Wallace  arranged  with  the 
commander  of  H.M.S.  Clematis — which  vigil- 
antly patrolled  the  coast — that  he  should 
sujiport  the  attack  on  the  hill  with  gun-fire 
from  the  sea.  Gen.  Wallace,  in  personal  com- 
mand, moved  out  from  Matruh  before  daylight 
on  Christmas  morning.  He  divided  his  force 
into  two  columns.  The  Right  Column,  under 
Lieut. -Col.  J.  L.  R.  Gordon,  15th  Sikhs,  included 
the  bulk  of  the  infantry,  with  the  Bucks  Hussars 
and  a  section  of  Horse  Artillery,  and  its  task 
was  to  advance  along  the  coast  road  directly 
on  the  enemy.  The  Left  Column,  under 
Brigadier-Gen.  Tyndale  Biscoe,  was  made  up  of 
mounted  troops  and  Horse  Artillery,  and  was 
directed  to  make  a  wide  detour  round  the 
right  flank  of  the  enemy  and  cut  off  his  retreat 
westward.     As    Col.    Gordon's    column    moved 


out,  it  came  under  sharp  artillery  and  machine- 
gun  fire,  but  by  7.15  a.m.,  having  marched 
seven  miles.  Col.  Gordon  was  in  front  of  the 
main  enemy  position — an  escarpment  about 
a  mile  south  of  Gebel  Medwa.  The  15th  Sikhs, 
temporarily  commanded  by  Major  Evans,  were 
sent  forward  to  attack  the  enemy's  right  flank, 
the  Bucks  Hussars  and  the  2 /8th  Middlesex 
delivering  a  containing  attack  on  his  front. 
Meantime  the  Notts  R.H.A.  silenced  the 
enemy's  artillery  (obtaining  a  direct  hit  on  the 
largest  of  the  enemy's  pieces),  aided  by  the 
C-in.  guns  of  the  Clematis,  which  opened  "an 
accurate  and  useful  fire  "  at  a  range  of  about 
six  miles.  The  enemy  fought  with  resolution, 
and  three  companies  of  the  1st  New  Zealand 
Rifle  Brigade  were  sent  to  help  the  Sikhs. 
After  nearly  three  hours'  struggle  the  Sikhs  and 
New  Zealandors  cleared  the  crest  of  the  escarp- 
ment, driving  the  white-robed  Arabs  into  a 
long  rocky  nullah,  studded  with  caves  and 
small  gullies  into  which  many  of  the  enemy 
retreated.     The   nullah   was   cleared   bend   by 


THE    TIMES    HISTORY    OF    THE    WAR. 


303 


bend  and  the  edge  of  the  tablo-land,  beyond 
which  lay  the  enemy's  camp,  was  reached. 
Here  the  mounted  column,  which  had  met 
with  determined  opposition  from  the  Sonussi 
horsemen,  could  be  seen  two  miles  away. 
Working  their  way  towards  Col.  Gordon,  the 
mounted  troops  joinod  in  the  assault  on  the 
enemy's  main  position  in  the  Wadi  Majid, 
which  was  carried,  about  4  p.m.,  at  the  point 
of  the  bayonet.  By  that  time,  however,  the 
bulk  of  the  enemy  had  made  good  their  retreat 
along  the  sea-shore  and  the  approach  of  dark- 
ness prevented  pursuit.  So  hurried  had  been 
Gaafer  Pasha's  flight  that  he  left  behind  his 
office  and  personal  effects 

The  British  casualties  were  light — 14  rank  and 
file  killed  and  3  officers  and  47  other  ranks 
wounded.  Over  370  enemy  dead  were  counted 
and  82  prisoners  were  taken.  Much  live  stock, 
30,000  rounds  of  small-arm  ammunition  and 
three  boxes  of  gun  ammunition  were  also 
captured.  The  honours  of  the  day  fell  to  Col. 
Gordon  and  the  Sikhs  and  New  Zealanders 
(the  latter  under  command  of  Major  Austin). 
It  was  the  first  time  these  New  Zealanders 
(among  whom  was  a  Maori  contingent)  had 
been  in  action,  but  they  fought  with  the 
steadiness  of  seasoned  troops.  Col.  Gordon's 
column  bivouacked  at  Gebel  Medwa. 

The  troops  (wrote  an  officer  who  took  part  in  the  fight ) 
slept  for  a  few  hours,  during  which  time  a  volunteer 
party  went  back  to  rescue  certain  wounded  reported  to 
be  in  the  long  nullah.  They  feared  for  the  lives  of  any 
men  left  behind.  Their  fears  proved  only  too  well 
founded.  No  wounded  were  found,  but  some  cf  the 
dead  had  been  grievously  maltreated.  The  men  probed 
every  cave  and  crevice  in  the  vicinity,  and  not  a  lurker 
there  escaped  the  terrible  revenge  they  took.     The  light 


of  the  burning  fodder  shone  on  evidence  that  we  do  not 
box  with  kid  gloves  when  the  punching  is  below  the 
belt. 

At  daybreak  to-day  (Boxing  Day)  the  column  moved 
back  into  camp,  tired  out,  it  is  true,  with  its  long  march 
and  running  fight  across  the  sand,  and  then  through 
boulder-strewn  ravines,  but  high  in  spirits.* 

One  result  of  the  Christmas  Day  fight  was 
the  withdrawal  of  the  Senussi  main  body  to 
Halazinf,  25  miles  south-west  of  Matruh.  The 
enemy  had  received  a  severe  handling,  but  was 
far  from  beaten,  and  the  last  week  of  1915  and 
the  first  half  of  January,  1916,  had  to  be 
employed  in  clearing  out  parties  of  the  enemy 
who  were  threatening  the  line  of  communica- 
tions between  railhead  and  Matruh.  These 
operations  were  interrupted  by  torrential  rains 
— perhaps  the  last  thing  most  members  of  the 
Kxpeditionary  Force  expected — which  lasted 
a  week  and  turned  the  land  into  alternate 
stretches  of  sand  and  mud.  This  work  of 
clearing  the  rear  of  enemies  was  performed  by 


*  Morning  Post,  January  19.  1916. 

f  This   place   was   in   the   official   dispatches   at   first- 
incorrectly  spelt  Hazalin. 


NAVAL    ARMOURED    CARS    AT    MERSA    MATRUH. 


304 


THE    TIMES    HISTORY    OF    THE     WAR. 


305 


a  column  under  Lord  Lucan,  helped  by  the 
Naval  Armoured  Car  Division.  Meantime,  the 
enemy  at  Halazin  received  reinforcements. 
Careful  watch  was  kept  over  that  place  by  the 
Flying  Corps.  The  camp  comprised  at  least 
100  European  tents  and  250  Bedouin  tents, 
including  that  of  Sidi  Ahmed,  it  being  recog- 
nized by  Capt.  Royle,  the  observer.  The 
strength  of  the  enemy  was  estimated  at  0,000, 
and  once  more  Gen.  Wallace  awaited  the 
arrival  of  reinforcements  before  attacking. 

At  that  time  the  first  of  the  South  African 
troops  raised  by  the  Union  for  service  overseas 
(the  campaign  in  German  South- West  Africa 
had  been  regarded  as  a  domestic  affair)  had 
reached  England  and  the  2nd  Regiment  (under 
Lieut. -Col.  W.  E.  C.  Tanner)  of  the  1st  South 
African  Infantry  Brigade  was  sent  to  rein- 
force Gen.  Wallace.  It  disembarked  at  Matruh 
on  January  20  and  21,  and  at  once  was  given 
a  share  of  the  fighting.  On  January  22  Gen. 
Wallace  moved  from  Matruh  and,  marching 
16  miles,  encamped  that  night  at  Bir  Shola. 
There  he  formed  his  troops  into  two  columns 
and,  at  6  a.m.  on  January  23,  went  forward  to 
engage  the  enemy.  As  in  the  action  on  Christmas 
Day,  Col.  Gordon  commanded  the  infantry, 
which  formed  the  Bight  Column,  and  had  with 
it  one  squadron  of  Yeomanry  (the  Duke  of 
Lancaster's  Own),  and  Brigadier-Gen.  Biscoe 
the  mounted  men.  The  action  that  ensued,  the 
hardest  fought  of  the  whole  campaign,  demon- 
strated, among  other  things,  that  the  Senussi 
army  had  capable  and  daring  leaders.  Among 
them  were  German  officers.  Col.  Gordon 
advanced  direct  on  the  enemy's  camp,  Gen. 
Biscoe's  men  being  echeloned  to  the  left  front 
of  the  Right  Column,  moving  parallel  to  and  in 
close  touch  with  it.  Col.  Gordon  had  with  him 
his  own  regiment,  the  15th  Sikhs,  the  2nd  South 
African  Regiment,  the  1st  Batt,,  New  Zealand 
R.B  and  the  Notts  Battery,  R.H.A.  In  two 
hours  and  a  half  they  had  covered  about  seven 
miles  ;  a  very  trying  experience,  especially  for 
the  South  Africans,  most  of  whom  had  been 
originally  cavalry.  The  advance  was  made  in 
abnormal  conditions.  The  whole  country  had 
been  turned  by  the  recent  rains  into  a  quagmire, 
which  hampered  the  movements  of  the  mounted 
troops  and  deprived  the  infantry  of  the  support 
of  the  Naval  Armoured  Car  Division.  "  Through- 
out the  day,"  wrote  Sir  J.  Maxwell,  "this  factor 
— of  mud — played  an  important  and  unfortu- 
nate part."  Though  it  hampered,  the  mud  did 
not  prevent  the  advance  of  the  troops.      At 


8.30  a.m.  the  Left  Column  reported  the  enemy 
in  sight,  and  shortly  afterwards  Biscoe's 
advanced  squadron  of  Australian  Light  Horse 
became  engaged.  Gen.  Biscoe  sent  the  Bucks 
Hussars  and  the  H.A.C.  to  support  the  Aus- 
tralians and,  at  the  same  time,  Col.  Gordon's 
column  pushed  on  in  attack  formation,  the 
indomitable  Sikhs  leading.  After  an  engage- 
ment lasting  eight  hours  the  enemy  were  de- 
feated and  fled.  The  course  of  the  fight  is 
succinctly  told  in  Gen.  Maxwell's  dispatch  as 
follows  : 

Relieved  by  the  advance  of  the  Infantry,  the  mounted 
troops    pressed    on,  endeavouring    to    work    round    the 


EGYPTIAN    TROOPS. 
Boarding  a  steamer  at  Solium. 

enemy's  right,  and  at  the  same  time  covering  the  left 
flank  of  Col.  Gordon's  attack.  The  latter,  spread 
over  a  front  of  nearly  a  mile  and  a  half,  led  across 
ground  absolutely  destitute  of  cover,  while  mirage  in 
the  early  stages  made  it  impossible  for  a  considerable 
time  to  locate  the  enemy's  positions.  During  this 
advance  the  Infantry  suffered  somewhat  severely  from 
artillery  and  machine-guns,  the  enemy's  fire  being  both 
rapid  and  accurate.  Nevertheless,  the  enemy  was 
gradually  pressed  back,  but  his  retirement  of  nearly 
three  miles  on  to  his  main  positions  was  conducted  with 
great  skill,  denying  all  our  efforts  to  come  to  close 
quarters. 

By  2.45  p.m.  the  Sikhs  and  South  Africans,  with  part 
of  the  New  Zealand  Battalion,  on  the  left  of  the  Sikhs, 
had  reached  the  enemy's  main  line.  But  in  the  mean- 
time the  flanks  had  not  made  equal  progress,  and  bodies 


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THE    TIMES    HISTORY    OF    THE    WAR. 


307 


of  the  enemy  were  working  round  both  north  and  south, 
the  line  gradually  forming  the  arc  of  a  semi-circle. 

Soon  after  1  p.m.,  so  great  was  the  activity  of  one 
of  these  detachments  on  our  right,  or  northern  flank, 
that  the  reserve  Battalion  (l/6th  Royal  Scots)  had  to 
be  put  in  to  restore  the  situation,  but  by  2.30  p.m.  all 
danger  from  that  quarter  was  past.  On  the  extreme 
left,  however,  by  3.30  p.m.  the  Cavalry  of  the  Left 
Column  had  been  forced  to  give  some  ground,  and  with 
the  H.A.C.  guns  were  occupying  a  position  nearly 
1,000  yards  in  rear  of  the  Field  Ambulance. 

Col.  Gordon  was  called  upon  to  detach  two  com- 
panies of  New  Zealanders  to  assist  the  Cavalry,  who 
were  being  pressed.  With  this  reinforcement  the  threat 
against  our  left  rear  was  finally  repulsed  and  the  enemy 
driven  off. 

In  the  meantime  the  main  attack  by  Col.  Gordon's 
Column  had  progressed  satisfactorily.  By  3  p.m.  the 
enemy  had  been  driven  from  his  positions,  and  shortly 
afterwards  his  camp  was  occupied  and  burnt,  the  work 
of  destruction  being  completed  by  4.30  p.m. 

This  account  may  be  supplemented  by 
extracts  from  a  letter  written  immediately  after 
the  engagement  by  an  officer  who  fought  at 
Halazin,  and  printed  in  the  Morning  Post : 

While  advancing  on  the  enemy's  position  some 
hundred  Springboks  [South  Africans]  were  sent  back  as 
unfit  to  march  any  further,  but  when  the  first  gun 
boomed  they  halted  undecided.  Then  the  wind  wafted 
down  their  battalion's  weird  war  cry  on  its  wings. 
Catching  up  the  echo,  they  "  about-turned "  with  a 
roar,  and,  boots  carried  in  their  hands,  they  struggled 
back  to  the  opening  fray,  and  saw  it  through  to  a  finish — 
a  likely  looking  lot  these. 

The  enemy  contested  the  day  with  the  utmost  deter- 
mination. For  four  hours  there  was  a  struggle  for 
supremacy  in  rifle  fire  which  rivalled  in  rattle  the  old 
Gallipoli  days.  These  native  troops  carried  as  many 
machine-guns  as  we  did,  and  under  German  (two  of  them 
naval  men)  and  Turkish  officers,  worked  them  with 
valour  and  precision.  Their  artillery  threw  poor- 
quality  shrapnel  with  more  accuracy  than  hitherto. 

A  profitable  stratagem  was  brought  off  by  the  cavalry 
screen.  When  we  were  more  than  holding  our  own  a 
portion  of  the  cavalry  on  the  left  retired  under  orders 
at  a  hand  gallop.  Encouraged  by  this,  the  Arabs  who 
had  opposed  this  portion  of  the  line  pressed  forward  in 
masses,  to  be  blown  to  pieces  by  three  of  our  guns  just 
then  placed  in  a  new  position.  Concentrated  rifle  fire 
blotted  out  several  of  the  Senussi's  machine-gun  crews, 
including  a  German  captain. 

Our  troops  passed  through  the  hostile  camp,  and 
found  every  evidence  of  European  supervision.  Oppor- 
tunity had  been  taken  by  the  enemy  during  their 
determined  resistance  to  remove  much  booty,  but  a 
good  deal  remained  to  b